Europe

EU Prepared to Sanction Turkey If ‘Aggressive Stance’ Persists, Senior French Diplomat Says

PARIS (Sputnik) – The European Union has a ready package of measures, including sanctions, against Turkey in case if it fails to abandon the “aggressive stance” in various issues of international significance, French Minister of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune said on Tuesday.

“[Turkey must] choose — to de-escalate or to uphold this aggressive stance, in which case Europe will be ready to respond. We have prepared a set of measures, including sanctions, which can be applied if necessary,” Beaune told the French lower house.

The minister stressed that, while standing ready to protect its interests, the EU does not seek escalation and waits for Ankara “to say whether it is ready to send signals of de-escalation.”

Elaborating on locations in need of de-escalation under Turkey’s influence, Beaune mentioned the conflicts in Libya and Syria, as well as the tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, which has long been a stumbling block in Brussels-Ankara relations. 

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting to announce an economic reform package, in Istanbul, Turkey March 12, 2021.

“And we have seen other operations around the Caucasus in recent weeks,” he added.

The French diplomat described Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention on women’s rights and the persecution of political dissidents as “steps in the wrong direction.” At the same time, he said Turkey recently sent “positive signals” by withdrawing its ships from the Greek- and Cypriot-claimed territorial waters and agreeing to resume talks with Athens and Nicosia.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a re-evaluation of the relations with Turkey at the next European Council in June, according to the minister.

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