Greek FM Dendias repeats call for arms embargo, clear message for Turkey

Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told Politico in an interview on Saturday that Germany’s refusal to impose an arms embargo on Turkey was a failure of leadership.

Germany’s reluctance to “set a clear example to countries that they must obey international law,” is inexplicable, the minister said.

The minister gave similar messages in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, Greek daily Kathimerini reported.

According to Greece, if the heightened tensions with Turkey escalate further, the six submarines Ankara has ordered from Germany could be used against members of the European Union, namely Greece and Cyprus.

Dendias said Germany selling such weapons that could tip the power balance in the eastern Mediterranean was a “huge contradiction,” as Turkey “threatens peace and stability of two EU countries.”

Germany has been working to mediate tensions between Turkey and Greece, as the former claims territorial waters in the Mediterranean that are internationally recognised as belonging to the latter, as well as Cyprus. Turkey has had seismic vessels in disputed waters on and off since last year, exploring for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus and Crete.

Europe should give Turkey a “logical answer” for its actions in the upcoming EU leaders summit on Dec. 10, Dendias said, stopping short of calling for sanctions, and Germany should stand “firmly on the side of its fellow EU members.”

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolutionidentifying Turkey’s activities in the Mediterranean as illegal, and calling on the European Council to opt for sanctions in the summit.

Turkey is planning to continue the work of drillship Oruç Reis until Nov. 29, mere days before the summit is set to begin.

EU leaders would be “naïve” if they expect a different outcome from Turkey when acting the same way with the country, Dendias said.

Turkey’s actions and whether it shows any real change in attitude will determine what the bloc’s ultimate message should be, the foreign minister continued.

Dendias told Bloomberg that Turkey had been working to undermine stability in Arab countries, with its attempts to harm the Egyptian government and invade Syria and Iraq. Ankara is always present wherever there is a problem, he said.

The minister repeated a call to let the International Court of Justice handle the dispute between Athens and Ankara, and said the EU allowing Turkey to come to a conclusion that there are no limits to its behaviour without any restrictions is “not good for Turkey, the EU, nor for peace and stability in the Mediterranean and the wider region.”