Manfred Weber, leader of the conservative majority in the European Parliament, said on Monday that Europe must stand united in response to Turkey and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aggressive behaviour, Bloomberg reported.
“Europe has to stay together, unify and send a clear signal to Erdoğan that we want to have a partnership but please stop your aggressive behaviour,” Weber said in an interview with Bloomberg.
The European Union will hold a summit on Sept. 24-25, at which member states plan to discuss a crisis between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus over territory, and evaluate possible sanctions against Turkey.
Turkey is an important partner for Europe but its actions, which include “illegal” drilling off Cyprus, the conversion of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia into a mosque and a military intervention in Syria, are not examples of constructive partnership, said Weber, who is chairman of the European People’s Party.
Weber said sanctions might not be needed if Turkey takes steps toward de-escalation in the eastern Mediterranean.
Last week, Turkey withdrew the research vessel Oruç Reis from disputed waters between Greece and Turkey, a move Weber said opened up the possibility of renewed dialogue and was a first step toward de-escalation.
“But the list is long. That’s why we need a general discussion. I and my party do not think that Turkey cannot join the European Union. But we need a fresh start,” he said.