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Erdogan: Turkey not concerned by threats of ‘possible EU sanctions’

December 10, 2020 at 10:14 am

President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey on 30 November 2020 [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that his country is not concerned by any economic sanctions the European Union might impose against Ankara, Anadolu reported.

“Officially, since 1963, the EU has already been implementing sanctions on us constantly. The EU has never been honest and never stood behind its promises. But we’ve always been patient,” Erdogan told reporters ahead of his visit to Azerbaijan.

The president added that Turkey would wait and see the bloc’s decisions, adding that some leaders who are sincere and honest have already been upstanding in their disapproval of such moves towards Turkey.

EU leaders are scheduled to meet today to discuss possible sanctions against Turkey over its dispute with Greece and Cyprus over Eastern Mediterranean gas resources.

In response to the situation with Greece, Erdogan said Athens does not want to negotiate to settle the dispute.

“On the Eastern Mediterranean, we will continue to protect whatever our rights there are. It is never possible for us to compromise here. But if Greece really acts honestly as a neighbour, we will continue to be available at the table,” he said.

On 12 October, Turkey dispatched a ship to look for hydrocarbon resources in the area between the islands of Kastellorizo and Rhodes.

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International law stipulates that disputed Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZs) for islands between countries should be resolved through bilateral talks, which Greece and its allies have been rejecting and leaving coasts for Turkey which can only be used for swimming.

The ship was later withdrawn.

In August, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal, spurning Turkey’s goodwill gesture in halting explorations.

Declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void“, Turkey authorised the Oruc Reis to continue activities in an area within Turkey’s continental shelf.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline on the Mediterranean.

Ankara has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.