Turkey – EU decides to hold back on sanctions and crank up diplomacy

The European Council reiterated its full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus. European Council President Charles Michel said that leaders looked at the full range of issues in the Eastern Mediterranean region from energy to security, he said that the EU was taking a twin track approach: firmness and readiness to engage on the other hand. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the start of a dialogue between Greece and Turkey on Turkey’s drilling activities in its exclusive economic zone. However, she said that the EU deplored that Ankara had not made similar constructive gestures towards Cyprus.
Von der Leyen underlined that the EU wanted a positive and a constructive relationship with Turkey, but that this could only occur if provocations and pressure stopped. In case of renewed unilateral actions she said that the EU would be ready to make use of all its tools immediately, but said she would prefer to work towards a new long term EU/Turkey relationship, including modernization of the customs union, stronger cooperation on migration on the basis of the 2016 EU/Turkey statement and coordinated action on COVID-19.
While sanctions have not been launched, there is a clear reference to the possibility that they might be used and the European Council will closely monitor developments and: “Will take decisions as appropriate at the latest at its December meeting.” Finally, the European Council calls for a multilateral conference on the Eastern Mediterranean and invited the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, to engage in talks about its organisation. Modalities such as participation, scope and timeline to be agreed with all involved parties.

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