Greece says expects EU to ready Turkey sanctions despite crisis thaw

Greece says expects EU to ready Turkey sanctions despite crisis thaw

Greece said Wednesday that it still expects the European Union to approve sanctions against Turkey despite the two NATO members agreeing to restart talks on maritime boundaries, energy rights and other long-standing disputes.

The leaders of the EU's 27 nations are expected to review proposals for imposing sanctions on Turkey at their next summit, which was originally scheduled for this week and has been postponed until Oct. 1-2. Greece is an EU member, but not Turkey.

Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said he expects the national leaders to adopt some proposals, but he told state-run ERT television, "The question is how those sanctions will be activated in the case of Turkey's non-compliance, because we are not used to seeing the (EU) operating on a very fast track."

Greece and Turkey engaged in a tense military standoff in the eastern Mediterranean Sea earlier this month after the Turkish government dispatched a warship-escorted research vessel to survey an area over which the Greek government insists it has sole jurisdiction.

Both countries pulled back and agreed to engage in exploratory discussions after the Turkish ship returned to port, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the move only was temporary.

Formal negotiations between Turkey and Greece were suspended four years ago. No date has been set for the exploratory talks, which are currently planned to take place in Istanbul. Germany, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, led intense diplomatic efforts to end this month's dispute at sea.

"From our point of view, it is, of course, important that these talks begin soon and further confidence is built up," Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday.

Greece and Turkey have been holding separate, military-level talks at NATO that were aimed at preventing an armed confrontation between the two allies in the eastern Mediterranean.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said "good progress" had been made in Brussels.

"These are technical military talks. They complement the diplomatic efforts led by Germany to resolve the underlying dispute," Stoltenberg said. "The German efforts have led to an agreement yesterday to hold exploratory talks, which I welcome."


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