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The seven Euro-Mediterranean countries (Med7) meeting in Ajaccio reaffirmed their desire to relaunch dialogue with Turkey, while brandishing the threat of new sanctions if Ankara opposes them.
The EU countries around the Mediterranean (Med7) wish to “re-engage” in a dialogue in good faith with Turkey, which leads a hegemonic policy in the Mediterranean, said Thursday, September 10 the French President Emmanuel Macron at the end of a Med7 summit.
“We have collectively reaffirmed a will to re-engage in a responsible dialogue and to find the ways of balance in the region (…) We have no naivety, but we wish to re-engage it in good faith”, declared the chief of State. “Our goal is really to restore normal relations with Turkey,” he added.
Tensions between Athens and Ankara have worsened since the launch in August of a Turkish gas exploration campaign in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean rich in hydrocarbons. Greece, France and Italy have recently carried out military maneuvers in this sector.
A tangible step forward at the end of the Med7 summit: we have a common agenda of sovereignty, high standards and dialogue in the Mediterranean. pic.twitter.com/fBDThKQdg9
– Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 10, 2020
The threat of sanctions
In the press release published at the end of the summit, the Seven (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus) reaffirm their “full support and [leur] full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece in the face of repeated attacks on their sovereignty and sovereign rights as well as aggressive measures taken by Turkey. “
“We maintain that if Turkey does not move forward on the path of dialogue and put an end to its unilateral activities, the EU is ready to draw up a list of additional restrictive measures which could be discussed at the European Council of 24 and September 25, 2020 “, they add.
European leaders will have “no other choice” than to impose “significant sanctions” on Turkey if it “refuses to listen to reason”, had already hammered the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis before the summit.
What you need to know about escalating tensions in the Mediterranean
At the opening of the summit, Emmanuel Macron estimated that Turkey was “no longer a partner” in the eastern Mediterranean, while expressing his “deep wish” to re-engage in a “fruitful dialogue” with Ankara, despite its drilling activities ” unacceptable “.
He also deplored that Turkey had signed “unacceptable agreements with the Libyan government of understanding, denying the legitimate rights of Greece”. “We Europeans must be clear and firm with the government of President Erdogan, which today has unacceptable behavior”, he added.
“I hope that the discussions this afternoon will enable us to move forward on a common position and my deep wish is to re-engage in a fruitful dialogue with Turkey.”
With AFP and Reuters