Consultations on EU stance towards Turkey intensify

Consultations on EU stance towards Turkey intensify

The intense consultations between European Union member-states on the bloc’s response to Turkish aggression in recent months are expected to continue until the 11th hour before the start of Thursday’s crucial leaders summit. 

What is becoming clear is that some measures against Ankara will indeed be included in the summit’s decisions. However, the nature of these measures remains extremely uncertain.

Greece and Cyprus, which have been on the receiving end of Turkey’s aggressive stance, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Slovakia, as well as Belgium, Ireland and Denmark are in favor of a tougher line. In addition, the Netherlands and the Baltic states also spoke in favor of sanctions at Monday’s meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council. 

The biggest resistance to serious measures is being mounted by Germany, supported by Italy – which was very cautious on Monday – Spain and Malta, which would be affected by tough sanctions on Ankara as they are exposed to Turkey. Poland and Hungary would also be negatively affected by sanctions.

A first battle of those countries wanting tougher sanctions will be to ensure that the measures against Turkey will move beyond individuals involved in the seismic surveys conducted by Turkey’s Oruc Reis vessel in Greece’s continental shelf and include entities as well. This something that Athens is pursuing but is faced with Berlin’s resistance. 

Athens will also insist on the issuing of a clear mandate to EU High Representative Josep Borrell to present a list of measures next month, including an embargo on arms and defense equipment sales to Turkey and cutting off EU pre-accession funding to Ankara. 

What’s more, the Greek side is also seeking to suspend Turkey’s participation in EU projects.

However, a European diplomatic source told Kathimerini that the embargo proposal – an immediate priority for Athens – is not expected to receive widespread support at the summit.

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