EU should pursue a fair line on Med crisis: Erdoğan

EU should pursue a fair line on Med crisis: Erdoğan

EU should pursue a fair line on Med crisis: Erdoğan

The European Union should follow a fair stance and refrain from provocative moves, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told EU’s senior official in a phone conversation as Brussels is preparing for a leaders’ summit late September in which sanctions against Turkey will be on the table.

 Erdoğan held a phone conversation with the President of the European Council Charles Michel on late Sept. 6 to discuss developments in the eastern Mediterranean and Turkey-EU relations.

According to a statement issued by the Communication Directorate, Erdoğan stated that the EU should fulfill its obligations on a fair basis to prevent the steps that escalate tension in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean by Greece and some EU member states.

Emphasizing that the provocative remarks and steps regarding regional issues by European politicians would not contribute to producing a solution, Erdoğan stated that the EU’s stance in the eastern Mediterranean would serve as a test of sincerity in terms of international law and regional peace.

Erdoğan called on the EU institutions and member states to pursue a fair, unbiased and objective stance and act responsibly that regards all regional issues, primarily the eastern Mediterranean.

There was no statement from Michel’s office about the conversation. 

Michel, in an interview with international agencies, suggested that the EU will follow a carrots-and-sticks approach on Turkey, saying, “We will identify tools in our external policy, a sticks and carrots approach - what tools to use to improve the relationship and what tools to react [with] if we are not being respected,” he said. 

Michel will visit Greece, Greek Cyprus and Malta before the summit to take place on Sept. 24 and 25. Leaders will hold a general debate about the developments in the eastern Mediterranean as Turkey and Greece are in a standoff over the overlapping continental shelf claims.  

Michel did also suggest an international conference for the resolution of the disputes over maritime jurisdiction areas in the Mediterranean. There has been no official answer to Michel’s call from both Turkey and Greece. 

Erdoğan meets Libya’s Sarraj

In the meantime, President Erdoğan met Prime Minister of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al Sarraj, on Sept. 6 in Istanbul after a recent ceasefire between the two rival sides of the north African country. 

“A productive two-and-a-half-hour meeting was held between our President and Chairperson Sarraj that would contribute to the peace, security, and prosperity of the Libyan people and strengthen bilateral relations,” according to the statement issued by the Communication Directorate. 

“During the meeting, our President stated that Turkey would continue to be in solidarity with the U.N.-recognized legitimate government of Libya and reiterated that Turkey’s priority was to ensure stability in Libya by protecting its political unity and territorial integrity,” read the statement.  

During the meeting, issues that would strengthen the cooperation implemented within the framework of the memorandum of understandings signed by Turkey with the legitimate government in Libya and steps to protect the rights of Turkey and Libya in the eastern Mediterranean were evaluated.

Turkey and Libya signed a maritime demarcation agreement in late 2019, triggering reactions from Greece, which argued the deal was violating its continental shelf off the Crete Island.

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