With Ankara’s stance seen as nothing but an effort to buy time with no real intention for a candid dialogue, Athens is expected to insist on a hard line in favor of sanctions during the upcoming European Council on December 10 and 11.
According to Athens, Ankara’s behavior over the previous five days in particular leaves no room for optimism.
More specifically, since signaling last week that it wants to mend bridges with Europe, Ankara has done anything but that, as it continued its incendiary rhetoric against Greece and slammed Germany over the search by German marines of one of its vessels in the framework of the European Union’s Operation Irini to enforce an arms embargo on Libya.
Against this backdrop, it appears clear in Athens that the possibility of launching exploratory contacts with Ankara before the European Council is not on the cards.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias echoed Athens’ position Thursday, stressing that Greece remains committed to the idea of a constructive dialogue. However, he reiterated again that “in order for this dialogue to take place, Turkey must demonstrate its respect for international law and prove it in the long run,” and not in an opportunistic way in view of the upcoming European Council.
Dendias also reiterated Greece’s take regarding Turkey’s behavior in the region and the Eastern Mediterranean in a phone call Thursday with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the forthcoming meeting of the Alliance.
Earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Papaioannou pointed out that Turkey’s behavior destabilizes all the countries in the region and Europe, and that this has not gone unnoticed in the EU.
Papaioannou referred to the conclusions of the European Council of October 1 that warned Turkey to change its stance or face the possibility of sanctions, stressing that its behavior “no longer gives Europe any other choice.”
Meanwhile, the European Parliament Thursday voted with an overwhelming majority (631 in favor, three against and 59 abstentions) for a non-binding resolution condemning Turkey’s recent “illegal” actions in the city of Varosha in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, calling for sanctions against Ankara.
Varosha is a beach resort abandoned by Greek Cypriots fleeing Turkey’s invasion in 1974.
Turkey was asked to reverse this decision and avoid unilateral actions “exacerbating division and embedding the permanent partition of Cyprus.”