A week after Turkey withdrew its gas exploration ship Oruc Reis from the conflict zone with Greece in the Mediterranean, for reasons that Ankara said were for maintenance work, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went on to contradict that Turkish vision, which until recently adhered to the escalatory line, to talk about giving more space for diplomacy in the eastern Mediterranean crisis.
In a tweet celebrated by the Anadolu Agency, Erdogan made it clear that his country intends to listen to every sincere invitation, to give diplomacy as much space as possible, and to solve problems in which everyone can be a winner through dialogue.
Because these statements came in the context of retreat, the Turkish president tried to save face by saying, “We will continue to defend every drop of water and inch of our country’s land until the end.”
These developments come in light of a European trend to impose sanctions on Turkey as a threat to EU member Greece.
Turkey is increasingly isolated in the eastern Mediterranean, as sanctions are there is the imposition of an embargo on Turkish ships and other assets used in exploration operations, especially a ban on the use of EU ports and equipment, while extensive sanctions await entire sectors of the Turkish economy.
For this reason, former Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu launched an attack on Erdogan’s policies, blaming him for what he considered Turkey’s isolation and its standing alone in the eastern Mediterranean.
Ignore and distrust
Despite Turkey’s announcement of abandoning the language of escalation and threat, voices from within the European Union are still talking about sanctions. The EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy said on Monday, September 21, that the upcoming ministerial meeting in Brussels will discuss the issue of sanctioning Turkey.
Meanwhile, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides called on the European Union to immediately impose sanctions on Turkey in order to confront its illegal actions in the eastern Mediterranean waters.
Christodoulides said in statements to Greek media that Turkey chose to escalate its efforts against his country by taking a decision to extend the work of the Yavuz exploration ship in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, adding Ankara had thus revealed its “true intentions”.
The foreign minister’s comments come less than a day after Cypriot Defense Minister Charalambos Petrides warned that the situation in the eastern Mediterranean causes concern in light of the continued Turkish provocations.
In a press statement, Petrides said that the European Union should send a “decisive message” to Turkey, affirming the unity of its position regarding its illegal activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
He affirmed that his country had recently received many letters of support for its position on the crisis, in light of measures Ankara is taking to explore for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean, the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) reported.
While the European Union’s response to Turkey’s calls so far can be described as overlooking, Egypt has treated them with mistrust.
Turkey had sent letters to Cairo more than once expressing its desire to open a new page after a break in relations that has lasted for seven years so far. However, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry responded in a statement that “Ankara’s approach lacks credibility.”