Turkey: EU sanction threat over East Med crisis lacks legal basis

Turkey has decried a statement by seven European countries threatening sanctions against Ankara, amid its standoff with Greece over Eastern Mediterranean energy and maritime rights.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Friday that France, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Cyprus had adopted a viewpoint that was “disconnected from reality”, “biased”, and lacked a legal basis.

The ministry’s backlash followed a summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday in Corsica, where leaders of the seven countries said they were ready to back European Union sanctions against Turkey if Ankara shunned dialogue.

Greece underlined the prospect of sanctions earlier on Thursday, with PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis saying in an opinion piece on Thursday the EU must impose sanctions on Turkey unless Ankara pulls its maritime assets from disputed areas in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“If Turkey refuses to see sense … I see no option but for my fellow European leaders to impose meaningful sanctions. Because this is no longer just about European solidarity. It is about recognising that vital interests – strategic European interests – are now at stake. If Europe wants to exercise true geopolitical power, it simply cannot afford to appease a belligerent Turkey,” Mitsotakis wrote.

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