An extraordinary summit of European Union leaders will be held in Brussels today, Thursday, to discuss tension in the eastern Mediterranean and relations with Turkey. A senior German government official revealed that the European summit does not include any plans to impose sanctions on Ankara.
On the eve of the summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a message to European leaders in which he confirmed that Turkey’s relations with the European Union are facing a new test, expressing his hope that the Union will abandon its biased stance in favor of Greece and Cyprus.
Erdogan indicated that “Greece and Cyprus are the cause of the problems, not Turkey,” reiterating his country’s readiness for an unconditional dialogue with Greece on the maritime border disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, and noting support for NATO’s initiatives in this context.
Erdogan added that Turkey wants to see the eastern Mediterranean region dominated by cooperation, peace and stability through the fair distribution of wealth, but he stressed that Turkey’s demand to stop its search and exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean is “unjust and unjust.”
In a related context, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that his country and Greece are neighbors, and they must sit at the dialogue table to resolve the outstanding issues between them, without Greece being dragged behind inciting certain parties.
The Turkish minister said that he expected the EU summit to produce positive steps on unresolved issues such as the eastern Mediterranean conflict, the agreement on migrants and the customs union.
Greece and Turkey, the two NATO members, have come close to the brink of a military confrontation in recent weeks, after Turkey began exploring for oil and gas in a sea area, claiming Greece has the right to control it, and the two sides held simultaneous military maneuvers.
After escalating my rhetoric that continued for weeks, the two countries recently agreed to enter into preliminary talks, following efforts by the European Union and Germany to mediate a solution to the issue through dialogue.
On the other hand, European Council President Charles Michel said that all options are on the table to defend the legitimate interests of the European Union and its member states, in a message to Turkey if it does not take what he called a constructive approach to resolving the current conflicts in the eastern Mediterranean.
On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a speech in her country’s parliament, stressed the importance of EU cooperation with Turkey.
She explained that the Union has multi-dimensional relations with Turkey, and “we must balance our relations again with it.” Merkel praised Turkey’s hospitality for refugees, noting that she is also a member of NATO.