Tactical moves by Ankara before EU summit

Tactical moves by Ankara before EU summit

The anticipated suspension on November 29 of the activities of the Oruc Reis seismic vessel within parts of the Greek continental shelf after having scanned the entire area it had reserved since August is being touted by Ankara as a goodwill move ahead of the European Council in December 10-11, where one of the main topics of discussion will be the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey over its behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

According to Turkey, the two-dimensional investigations it claims to have been conducting will end on November 29. This coincides with “the hand of friendship” extended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Europe, via his representative, Ibrahim Kalin, who was in Brussels for this purpose last Friday.

European Commission foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano said on Monday the “EU has been very clear on expectations,” adding that its position had been “conveyed” also during Kalin’s meetings.

“The expectation is de-escalation,” Stano said, adding that the summit on December 10-11 will review whether Turkey has done enough to allow for a “constructive dialogue” to resume between the two sides “or whether all other options would be explored, as outlined by the European Council conclusions of October 1.”

He also reiterated the bloc’s “full solidarity” with Cyprus and Greece “when it comes to the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and Turkish actions.” 

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian expressed skepticism in an interview with RTL.

“It is not enough, I say it clearly for your Turkish listeners, it is not enough that for two or three days now there have been reassuring statements by President Erdogan. Actions are needed. This is my position and of course the position of the President of the Republic. We will judge based on the actions,” he said.

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