The EU says it might impose sanctions on Turkey over “provocations and pressures” in a row with Greece over vitality sources and maritime borders.

European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen referred to as on Ankara to “abstain from unilateral actions” within the Japanese Mediterranean.

She spoke early on Friday throughout a gathering of EU leaders in Brussels.

Turkey and Greece arrange an army hotline to attempt to cut back the chance of clashes within the area.

Tensions rose earlier this 12 months when Turkey despatched a ship right into a disputed space to seek for probably wealthy oil and gasoline deposits.

What has the EU mentioned?
Mrs von der Leyen instructed reporters that the EU wished “a constructive and constructive relationship with Turkey and this is able to even be very a lot in Ankara’s curiosity”.

“However it’s going to solely work if the provocations and pressures cease,” she mentioned. “We subsequently anticipate that Turkey any more abstains from unilateral actions. In case of such renewed actions by Ankara, the EU will use all its devices and choices obtainable. We have now a toolbox that we will apply instantly.”

After their late-night assembly, EU members agreed to evaluate Turkey’s behaviour in December and impose sanctions if “provocations” had not stopped.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, posting on Twitter after the assembly, mentioned: “The EU points a transparent risk of sanctions in opposition to Turkey ought to it proceed to violate worldwide regulation.”

European Council President Charles Michel mentioned the EU was providing Turkey nearer relations on commerce and different areas however holding out the specter of sanctions if tensions within the Mediterranean didn’t de-escalate.

What is the background?

The European Union and Turkey have lengthy held a fragile relationship.

Turkey has been a long-term candidate for membership of the EU however efforts have stalled. EU leaders have criticized Turkey’s file on human rights and the rule of regulation, particularly within the wake of the 2016 failed army coup.

Regardless of the strains, Turkey stays a vital associate for the EU. Turkey hosts thousands and thousands of migrants and struck a cope with the EU that restricted the numbers arriving in Greece.

Greece and Turkey are each Nato members, however have a historical past of border disputes and competing claims over maritime rights.

Tensions flared in August when Ankara despatched the analysis ship into space south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo which is claimed by Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.

Greece referred to as the transfer a “new severe escalation” and the EU has backed its members Cyprus and Greece in opposition to Turkey.

Tensions eased considerably when the analysis ship returned to Turkish waters final month and either side mentioned they had been ready to renew talks.

Why the army hotline?

The announcement of the hotline on Thursday adopted talks between Turkey and Greece on the Nato headquarters in Brussels.

“I welcome the institution of an army de-confliction mechanism, achieved via the constructive engagement of Greece and Turkey, each valued Nato allies,” mentioned Nato Secretary-Basic Jens Stoltenberg.

“This security mechanism can assist to create the house for diplomatic efforts to handle the underlying dispute and we stand able to develop it additional.”

Such mechanisms allow direct communication between two sides. Russia and the US set one up in the course of the Chilly Warfare and it has been in operation ever since.

Final month France – which can also be at odds with Turkey over the disaster in Libya – deployed two Rafale fighter jets and a naval frigate within the Japanese Mediterranean due to the tensions between Greece and Turkey.

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