Turkey warns EU it will respond if bloc takes new measures against it

Foreign Minister says Ankara will not be held hostage by Greece and Cyprus

Josep Borrell, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, left, and Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar speak during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on Monday, July 6. Turkish Defence Ministry via AP
Josep Borrell, High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission, left, and Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar speak during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, on Monday, July 6. Turkish Defence Ministry via AP

Turkey will respond if the EU imposes more sanctions on it, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned on Monday.

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said last week that EU ministers would discuss Turkey on July 13 and that sanctions could be considered over its drilling in the Cyprus economic zone.

“If the EU takes additional decisions against Turkey, we will have to respond to this,” Mr Cavusoglu said in Ankara alongside the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.

As relations between Ankara and the EU deteriorate, the bloc in February imposed a travel ban and asset freezes on two people for their roles in their unlawful exploration of Cypriot waters.

Mr Cavusoglu berated the EU for failing to fulfil its promises and linking issues such as the Cyprus dispute and a 2016 migrant deal.

He said Turkey would not allow itself to be held hostage by Greece and Cyprus, and called on the EU to be an “honest broker”.

This year, tens of thousands of migrants tried to cross into Greece over land and sea borders after Ankara said it would no longer stop them.

The flow has since slowed but Mr Cavusoglu said Turkey “will continue to implement its decision”.

He repeated a call for France to apologise after an incident between Turkish and French warships in the Mediterranean prompted Paris to request a Nato investigation.

Relations between the Nato members have soured over the Libyan conflict, in which Turkey supports the Government of National Accord in Tripoli.

It has accused Paris of backing the forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, based in the country’s east, when he tried to capture the capital.

France denies backing the offensive and accused Turkish warships of aggressive behaviour.

Updated: July 7, 2020 06:15 AM

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