The President of the European Council has warned Ankara that the game of “cat-and-mouse” between the EU and Turkey needs to come to an end and says bloc leaders must now decide whether to sanction Turkey.
Speaking on Friday, Charles Michel told media that a debate will be held concerning Turkish provocation and unilateral action in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The debate is due to take place on December 10 during the next European summit meeting.
“We reached out to Turkey in October and our assessment is negative with the observation of the continuation of unilateral acts and hostile rhetoric. We will have a debate at the European summit on December 10 and we are ready to use the means at our disposal,” Michel said.
Michel declared it was time the game of “cat-and-mouse” between the EU and Turkey needed to come to an end, a reference to Turkey’s tactical deploying and withdrawal of a hydrocarbon exploration vessel in disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also engaged in a fierce war of words with European leaders, most notably French President Emmanuel Macron. Erdogan previously labelled the French leader as mentally unwell, a comment that drew ire from many in Brussels.
“Turkey must stop its provocations and its hostile rhetoric,” Michel added.
Turkey has been increasingly at odds with the EU this year following a very public disagreement between Athens and Ankara over exploration rights in the potentially hydrocarbon rich Eastern Mediterranean.
Ankara has also enraged Cyprus following Turkish hydrocarbon exploration off the divided island and a controversial decision to reopen the long-abandoned town of Varosha, a former Cypriot beach resort.
In November, European Parliament MPs urged EU leaders to “take action and impose tough sanctions” against Turkey, calling Ankara’s gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean “illegal.”
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