France supports calls for EU sanctions against Turkey

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JEDDAH: France on Friday backed Cyprus’s calls on the EU to consider imposing tougher sanctions on Turkey if the Turkish government does not suspend its search for energy reserves in Mediterranean waters east where Cyprus and Greece claim exclusive economic rights.

French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune said sanctions should be among the options the 27-member bloc plans to employ if Turkey continues to “endanger the security and sovereignty of a member state” .

“But we consider that the union must also be ready to use all the instruments at its disposal, including one of the sanctions, if the situation does not develop positively”, said Beaune after talks with the Cypriot Minister for Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia.

A European Parliament resolution called for sanctions against Turkey unless it shows “sincere cooperation and concrete progress” to defuse tensions with Greece and Cyprus.

Marc Pierini, former EU ambassador to Turkey and now analyst at Carnegie Europe, said the resolution reflected the views of a democratically elected parliament from across the bloc. “It’s not ‘country X against country Y”, it is the overall point of view of the European Parliament, “he told Arab News.

EU leaders are expected to hold a summit in a few days to discuss how to respond to Turkey’s prospecting in areas of the sea that Greece and Cyprus say are just theirs.

Turkey has sparked a naval standoff with NATO-ally Greece after sending a research vessel escorted by a warship to a part of the eastern Mediterranean which Greece says lies above its Continental shelf. Greece has deployed its own warship and naval patrols in response.

Greek and Turkish military officers are also in talks at NATO Headquarters to find ways to ensure that any stalemate at sea does not turn into open conflict.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Turkey’s withdrawal of its surveillance vessel and war escorts was a positive step, but Greece needs to make sure Ankara is sincere.

He said that a list of sanctions will be presented to EU leaders at the summit next week and that their implementation will depend on Turkey’s actions. “I hope it does not become necessary to reach this point,” said Dendias.

Cypriot officials insist the EU should not impose a ‘double standard’ by imposing sanctions on Belarus for electoral fraud and alleged police brutality, while avoiding doing so when Turkey continues its exploration at the expense of members of the EU.

At the same time, the EU is expected to announce sanctions on Monday against three companies from Turkey, Jordan and Kazakhstan accused of violating a UN arms embargo on Libya, diplomats said. to AFP.

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