PARIS: Turkey faces EU sanctions over its escalating conflict with Greece and Cyprus, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was warned on Sunday.
European ministers had already discussed “the range of reprisals we could take with regards to Turkey” and the issue will top the agenda at this month’s European Council meeting, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
Turkey sent a hydrocarbon research vessel with a naval escort into Greek territorial waters last month, and Greece responded with naval exercises to defend its territory.
The tension has illustrated the risk of conflict in the area as Erdogan pursues increasingly aggressively nationalist policies.
Le Drian urged Erdogan to begin talks over its eastern Mediterranean ambitions between now and the European Council meeting on Sept. 24.
“It’s up to the Turks to show that this matter ... can be discussed,” he said.
“If so, we can create a virtuous circle for all the problems on the table.”
Otherwise Erdogan could face an “entire series of measures,” he said.
“We are not short of options, and he knows that.”
Meanwhile Turkey’s armed forces began annual military exercises on Sunday in breakaway northern Cyprus, an isolated “republic” recognized only by Ankara.
Turkey has stationed tens of thousands of troops in the north of the island since it invaded in 1974 after a coup engineered by military rulers in Athens.