Turkey blasts southern EU leaders' sanctions threat
AFP, , Friday 11 Sep 2020

Turkey on Friday branded as "biased" a statement by southern European leaders threatening sanctions against Ankara in its standoff with Greece over eastern Mediterranean energy and maritime rights.

"The expressions in the joint communique... are biased, disconnected from reality and lack a legal basis," the foreign ministry said after a summit French President Emmanuel Macron hosted on Thursday.

France has thrown strong support behind Greece, sending warships and fighter jets in an escalating row over hydrocarbon resources and naval influence in the eastern Mediterranean.

After talks with the leaders of Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, Greece and Cyprus, Macron said the leaders wanted to re-engage in a dialogue with Turkey "in good faith".

But the leaders' final statement said sanctions were possible if Turkey failed to end its "confrontational actions".

The European Union "is ready to develop a list of further restrictive measures" that could be discussed at the European Council on September 24-25, the statement said.

Turkey has sent a natural gas exploration vessel and warships to waters claimed by Greece, but which Ankara views as its own.

It has also repeatedly said it was ready for dialogue with Greece without "preconditions", although efforts by Germany to mediate between the two NATO neighbours have so far failed to bear fruit.

"We invite Greece to give up its illegal and maximalist claims over maritime zones," the foreign ministry said in its statement, calling on EU countries supporting Greece's claims to "abandon their one-sided approach".