Berlin plans to play an active role, in the context of Germany's presidency of the European Council, in easing tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean where Turkey plans to expand its exploration for oil and gas in contravention of Greek and Cypriot exclusive economic zones.
In briefings to correspondents in Brussels last week, EU officials made it clear that German authorities are observing developments in the region with concern, both because of Ankara's drilling intentions and due to its intervention in Libya.
Berlin sees Turkey's claims in waters off Cyprus and Crete as equally groundless and, according to reliable sources, it has made clear to Ankara that there can be no dialogue on the broader issues of EU-Turkish relations if Ankara does not stop its transgressions in the East Med and call off its plans to drill off the Greek continental shelf.
Berlin will seek to balance these demands against the need for Turkey to manage refugee flows into Europe. However if Ankara insists on its drilling plans, high-ranking German sources say, fresh EU sanctions are likely.