Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay has criticized the European Union’s threat to impose sanctions on Ankara, calling it “hypocritical”.
According to foreign news agencies, Fuat Oktay’s statement came after EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell’s statement yesterday that the bloc is preparing to impose sanctions, including tough economic measures on Turkey.
Fuat Oktay called that bloc’s behaviour as hypocritical and said that call, on one hand, they called for talks on the one hand and other plans to restrict Turkey’s activities in its own continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean.
“We are experts in the language of peace and diplomacy, but we do not hesitate to take the necessary steps to defend Turkey’s rights and interests, as France and Greece are well aware,” he said.
2️⃣ Bizler barış ve diplomasi dilini iyi biliriz ancak mesele Türkiye’nin hak ve menfaatlerini korumaya gelince gereğini yapmakta tereddüt etmeyiz. Bunu en iyi bilenlerin başında da Fransa ve Yunanistan gelir.
— Fuat Oktay (@fuatoktay) August 29, 2020
Speaking at a news conference following a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Berlin yesterday in support of Greece, Joseph Borrell said the bloc wanted to provide a “serious opportunity for dialogue”, but would remain steadfast in its support of its member states Greece and Cyprus in the conflict.
He said EU measures were aimed at limiting Turkey’s ability to explore for natural gas in disputed waters, which could include restrictions on the use of people, ships and European shores.
Pointing to possible sanctions, Joseph Borrell said, “We can go as far as sectoral activity measures, where the Turkish economy is linked to the European economy.”
“The European Union will focus on all the activities that we consider legal,” he said.
On the other hand, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in response that the EU’s position was unjustified and rejected Greece’s naval claims.
“It is beyond the EU’s purview to criticize and demand an end to our hydrocarbon activity on our own continent,” said Hami Aksoy, a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
It should be noted that Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to designate small islands near the Turkish coast as a special economic zone, as Turkey, which has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean, believes it is in its best interests.
Turkey has also said that energy resources near Cyprus should be fairly shared jointly between the Turkish Petroleum Licensing Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration in southern Cyprus.