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Politics

Greece Wants Signal Turkey Will Back Off Seas Provocations

September 22, 2020

Two days before a Sept. 24-25 European Union showdown with Turkey, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said he's still waiting for signs that Turkey is willing to back off plans to hunt for energy in Greek waters.

He told other EU colleagues in Brussels that Greece welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decision to pull back the energy research vessel the Oruc Reis and warships from near the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

But Turkey said they would return after maintenance on the Oruc Reis as Erdogan said he also did it to give diplomacy a chance as Greek Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis demanded harsh sanctions otherwise.

Germany, home to 2.774 million people of Turkish heritage, isn't willing to get tough on Erdogan, nor has the EU, fearing he will unleash on the block through Greek islands more refugees and migrants who went to his country fleeing war, strife and economic hardships in their homelands.

Dendias said Turkey will have to provide more “tangible examples” of a shift toward easing tension with Greece and Cyprus, where it is renewing drilling for oil and gas in waters off the island where Turkey occupies the northern third.

“The Council recognized that the departure of the Oruc Reis is a positive sign, but it is an initial sign. Turkey will have to provide many more tangible examples of respect for international law,” Dendias said of the body of EU leaders.

But he said sanctions weren't even brought up as that will be taken up in the meeting with Turkey.

“The matter will be discussed again by the heads of state and government at the meeting of the European Council, so that we can conclude on the direction to take in EU-Turkey relations,” Dendias also said.

“We hope that by then Turkey will have provided – I repeat – tangible indications of its respect for international law,” he also added, said Kathimerini.

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