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Iran Press TV

Sanctions against Turkey on EU table over Greece tensions: France

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 06 September 2020 6:19 PM

France says sanctions against Turkey are on the table during an upcoming meeting of the European Council as tensions with Greece deepen.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made the comment on Sunday, adding that he and his counterparts in other member states of the European Union (EU) had already discussed "the range of reprisals we could take with regards to Turkey", whose conflict with neighboring Greece and Cyprus is ratcheting up.

Turkey and Greece, both NATO members, have been embroiled in a long-running territorial dispute in the eastern Mediterranean over the region's rich resources.

On August 10, Turkey began a military-backed hydrocarbon exploration venture in waters between Greece and Cyprus, escalating tensions in a strategic corridor.

Infuriated Greece responded with naval drills to defend its maritime territory. Siding with Athens, French frigates and fighter jets have already been deployed in the region.

There have been encounters between Turkish vessels and those of rival Greece.

Cyprus, for its part, has accused Turkey of breaching its sovereignty by drilling in the waters. All sides have deployed naval and air forces to assert their competing claims.

Le Drian, during an interview with France Inter radio, also urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to begin talks over its Eastern Mediterranean ambitions between now and the European Council meeting, which is scheduled to be held on September 24 and 25.

"It's up to the Turks to show that this matter... can be discussed," the French foreign minister further said. "If so, we can create a virtuous circle for all the problems on the table."

Le Drian, however, did not specify the nature of the possible sanctions against Ankara, but noted that there was an "entire series of measures."

"We are not short of options, and he knows that," he further said, referring to the Turkish president.

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