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EU delays imposing sanctions on Turkey

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Mass (C) in Brussels, Belgium on December 9, 2019 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Mass (C) in Brussels, Belgium on December 9, 2019 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

The European Union has decided to put off possible sanctions on Turkey due to positive developments which are unfolding in Ankara, news agencies reported yesterday.

"We discussed all aspects of our relation with Turkey, as identified in the December Council Conclusions, including regarding sanctions," EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, said in press remarks. "We took note of important messages sent to the European Union Council by Turkish authorities."

He added: "We reaffirmed the importance of engaging with Turkey in order to advance in and consolidate our dialogue and cooperation."

Following the EU meeting, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said: "We did not decide to sanction Turkey today because we see that there are positive developments."

"There are no Turkish ships in the contested areas in the Eastern Mediterranean anymore; exploratory talks between Turkey and Greece have begun this evening in Istanbul."

He added: "Those are all positive signals that we had waited for a long time, which should now not be strained by sanctions."

READ: Turkey to open new page of dialogue with EU, US in 2021

Recently, Turkey and Greece agreed to hold exploratory talks on their maritime dispute in Istanbul, as well as resuming consultations suspended in 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted he wants to "turn a new page" in Ankara's relations with Brussels in a phone call with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

"What is very important for us, the European Union and its member states, is to see the implementation of these intentions and declarations in practice," Euractiv quoted EU spokesman Peter Stano saying.

Moves to impose sanctions on Turkey last month had caused a rift among EU member states, with some rejecting the proposals.

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