As the European Union sent out another strongly worded statement on Friday regarding Turkey’s infringements in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey continued on its path of defiance to the West with the reported missile test launch of the Russian-made S-400 anti-aircraft system on the shores of the Black Sea, to the vehement protestation of the US.
At the same time its Oruc Reis research vessel continued its course within the Greek continental shelf while the Turkish Air Force returned to its tactics of overflights in the Aegean.
Responding to reports of its activation of the S-400 system, the US State Department issued a statement saying that, “if confirmed, we would condemn [it] in the strongest terms.” It warned of “potential serious consequences” for its security relationship with Turkey if it activates the system.
Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said an S-400 test missile launch is “incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO ally and strategic partner of the United States.”
Meanwhile, the EU Council Summit expressed its full solidarity toward Greece and Cyprus but stopped short of taking a harsher stance against Ankara, as requested by Athens and Nicosia.
In particular, the European Council reaffirmed the conclusions of the October 2 summit and strongly condemned Turkey’s new unilateral and provocative actions in the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition, it called on Turkey to respect United Nations Security Council Resolutions 550 and 789, which it violated with its opening of part of the abandoned town of Varosha in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.
The Council said it will continue to monitor the issue closely in order to follow up on its conclusions of October 2. However, a Greek proposal for stricter deadlines and harsher wording was rejected.
Speaking to reporters, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “The point where we will have to make decisions will be December. I still hope that we will not have to do so.”
“The measures will be painful, not symbolic,” he said. Going a step further, he also raised the issue of an arms embargo, as was the case during Turkey’s operations in Syria.
“The best expression of solidarity that can be found is for some countries not to allow the sale of weapons to Turkey, weapons that could possibly be used against the sovereignty of a member-state.”