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Iran Press TV

US, EU sanctions on Turkey would damage both sides: Erdogan

Iran Press TV

Friday, 11 December 2020 2:50 PM

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the sanctions by the United States and the European Union (EU) against Turkey, saying they would harm both sides and would be to no one's benefit.

Erdogan made the remarks during a speech to members of his ruling AK Party on Friday, saying Turkey's relations with the US and the EU should not be sacrificed.

The Turkish president also called on US and EU politicians to break from the influence of anti-Turkey lobbies, stressing that there were no problems that could not be resolved through dialog.

His remarks came after EU leaders agreed during a summit on Thursday to formulate limited sanctions against Turkish individuals over an energy exploration dispute with Greece and Cyprus, deferring any harsher measures until March as the countries sparred over how to deal with Turkey.

Shying away from an October threat to consider wider economic measures against Turkey, the summit statement by the EU leaders paved the way to punish individuals accused of planning or taking part in what the bloc said was unauthorized drilling off Cyprus.

EU leaders now expect the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to come up with a broad overview of the EU's political, trade, and economic ties with Turkey by next March.

That could allow for the EU to either broaden the sanctions or offer closer trade relations via an expanded customs union, depending on Ankara's willingness to help end the tensions with Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Turkey slammed the EU approach toward the dispute with Greece and Cyprus as "biased and illegal," calling on the Western bloc to instead act as an honest broker.

Next EU summit won't be able to take steps against Turkey: Erdogan

Separately on Friday, Erdogan said "reasonable countries" in the EU had thwarted efforts against Turkey at this week's summit, adding that the next meeting of the EU leaders, in March, would not yield results that would hurt Ankara.

"Our rights must be granted. There are now many rights that EU member states must grant Turkey," Erdogan said. "Reasonable countries in the EU thwarted this game by showing a positive stance," he added, referring to demands by Greece, France, and Cyprus to impose harsh sanctions on Turkey.

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

Tensions intensified in August when Ankara dispatched a seismic exploration ship into Cyprus' exclusive economic zone and also in waters claimed by Greece. The EU, led by Germany, has been trying to negotiate a settlement without success.

Back in October, the EU threatened Ankara with sanctions.

France and the European Parliament also called for imposing sanctions on Turkey.

Erdogan has already downplayed any economic sanctions the EU might impose on Ankara over the dispute in the eastern Mediterranean, saying his country will not cave in to threats and blackmail over energy exploration rights in the contested waters.

US sanctions would be disrespectful to Turkey: Erdogan

Meanwhile, Erdogan has slammed the United States' plan to impose sanctions on Turkey for its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, saying the plan is a show of "disrespect."

President Erdogan said on Friday that US sanctions over Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 systems would be disrespectful of a NATO ally, after sources said Washington was poised to take the step.

Two sources familiar with the matter, including a US official speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters that US President Donald Trump had given aides his blessing for sanctions under the US's Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA.

"For America to get up and confront Turkey with a matter like CAATSA is disrespectful to a very important NATO partner," Turkey's state-owned Anadolu Agency quoted Erdogan as saying on Friday.

"After the US transfer of power, we will no doubt see the trend much more clearly," Erdogan added, referring to President-elect Joe Biden's incoming administration, which will take office on January 20. "So it is for us to be patient and see."

Ankara and Washington have been at odds since 2017 over Turkey's decision to purchase the S-400 systems, which the United States says are not compatible with NATO weapons and pose a threat to Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets.

The S-400 is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has previously been sold only to China and India.

Moscow and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 in December 2017.

The delivery of S-400 launchers began in July 2019, infuriating the US, which had long warned that Turkey cannot have both the S-400 and the American Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets.

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