Greek MP expects weak sanctions for Turkey at EU summit

Greek lawmaker Angelos Syrigos from the ruling centre-right New Democracy Party said he was expecting weak sanctions against Turkey to come out of the upcoming EU leaders summit, scheduled to start on Dec. 10, news website Greek City Times reported on Wednesday.

While some members of the European Union are pushing for tougher sanctions on Turkey – including Greece, Cyprus, France, Austria, Luxembourg, Ireland and Czechia – others want no sanctions at all against the EU candidate country – such as Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Spain, Syrigos said in a radio interview.

The Greek lawmaker pointed to Germany’s tight economic relations with Turkey, and said he expected EU leadership to maintain a wait-and-see attitude until incoming U.S. President Joe Biden makes his Turkey policies clear after he takes office in January.

The European Council will meet on Dec. 10 in Brussels to discuss COVID-19 coordination, climate change, security, and external relations.

Under the external relations topic, leaders in the bloc will be discussing the situation in the eastern Mediterranean and relations with Turkey.

“In case of renewed unilateral actions or provocations in breach of international law, the EU will use all the instruments and the options at its disposal,” a council document on the matter said, “in order to defend its interests and those of its Member States.”

Monday saw EU member states Greece, Cyprus, and France, as well as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, start joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean amid high tensions with Turkey.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Turkey’s actions in the eastern Mediterranean were “very aggressive” and even “provocative” on Tuesday during a virtual gathering of European affairs committees.

Turkey has withdrawn the drillship Oruç Reis from Greek and Cypriot territorial waters ahead of the EU summit. The ship had been pulled back ahead of the EU meeting in October, only to be sent out again shortly after.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias called on Germany to implement an arms embargo on Turkey on Sunday, and not provide attack weapons “to a country that threatens the peace and stability of two EU member countries.”


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