With the European Council coming up next Wednesday and Thursday, President Nicos Anastasiades participated in a preparatory videoconference hosted by European Council President Charles Michel to discuss issues on the agenda, which is also expected to include a discussion of the potential imposition of sectoral sanctions against Turkey.
In a written statement on Wednesday, deputy government spokesperson Panayiotis Sentonas said Anastasiades and counterparts from Italy, Luxemburg and Latvia, exchanged views regarding the better planning of the EUCO and the issues on the agenda.
EU leaders will come together in Brussels next week to discuss further coordination on coronavirus, climate change, security and external relations, including EU-Turkey relations. On December 11, the leaders will also meet for the Euro Summit.
Regarding sanctions against Turkey, the basic scenario is the preparation of a list of sectoral sanctions which will be on the table and ready for activation in case Ankara’s behavior deteriorates in the coming months.
The exact areas that these sanctions would possibly target are under discussion, as countries such as Spain, for example, have significant exposure to Turkey. Once again, Germany is seen to be in the middle of two conflicting views that are expected to clash at the European Council.
At the same time, Athens is also insisting on the need for an embargo on offensive weapons, such as the German-built Type-214 submarines that Ankara has ordered from Berlin which could be used against Greece in case of a crisis. Germany’s Green Party does not disagree with the cessation of arms exports to Turkey and there are countries that are positive to such a scenario, most notably the Netherlands.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Turkey for opposing the principles and operation of NATO and undermining its cohesion during a foreign ministers’ teleconference, according to diplomatic sources.
Pompeo referred to Ankara’s “provocative” activities in the eastern Mediterranean, Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh, adding that the Turkish acquisition of the S-400 missile system was a “gift to Russia” from a NATO ally, the sources said. He also said that the military “deconfliction mechanism” agreed between Athens and Ankara in October is not working because of Turkey.