Turkey withdrew the ship last month, just before the EU summit, where economic sanctions were discussed, to redeploy it on Monday.
The bloc said it would examine the possibility of sanctions against Turkey at a European summit in December.
“It is clear to us that Turkey is constantly carrying out acts of provocation which are unacceptable,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a press conference alongside his German and Polish counterparts. France, Germany and Poland have organized meetings in a format called “the Weimar Trio”.
Joint declaration by the Foreign Ministers of the Weimar Triangle (France, Germany and Poland) – Jean-Yves Le Drian, Heiko Maas, Zbigniew Rau (15.10.20) https://t.co/sIpJ8CeLUt
– Anna Cherner (nAnnaCherner) October 15, 2020
He said the ball was in Ankara’s court, but the European Union was ready to change the balance of power if Turkey did not return to dialogue.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Turkey’s decision to return the ship to the Mediterranean was “inadmissible”.
Asked about the possibility of proposing EU sanctions, he said the bloc would decide how to react in the coming weeks.
“It’s been two times that the expected talks have not taken place and we don’t know when they will take place,” he said. “We have to wait and see if there is any progress in the next few weeks and then we will see what attitude the EU needs to take.”
Le Drian criticized Turkey’s role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, where it supports Azerbaijan against ethnic Armenians.
“There will be no military victory on this issue, so the ceasefire must be implemented,” he said. “What we can see today is the only country that does not call for respect for the ceasefire, it is Turkey and it is damaging.”
Hungarian support for Turkey
Meanwhile, EURACTIV has learned that, in a move that raised eyebrows in Athens, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó withdrew from the discussion on Turkey at a meeting of foreign ministers from the EU Monday in Luxembourg.
The Hungarian minister left suddenly when EU foreign ministers started discussing the return of the Turkish research vessel Oruç Reis to the disputed waters.
He returned after the discussion was over and the issue was then for Nagorno-Karabakh, in which he openly supported Turkey’s ally Azerbaijan.
Diplomatic sources said the move was no coincidence given the close relations between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Hungary is among the EU countries which oppose EU sanctions against Turkey. In the same vein, Italy and Spain.