Greece-Turkey tensions: Turkish naval vessel spotted in Kas
Tayyip Erdogan’s blistering attack on the Union comes after Brussels foreign ministers warned Turkey had failed to help end a row with Greece and Cyprus over potential gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean. NATO ally Turkey has been at odds with EU members Greece and Cyprus over the extent of their continental shelves in the east Mediterranean.
President Erdogan said: “The EU has never acted honestly, it has never kept its promises towards Turkey.
“But we have always been patient. We are still being patient.
“Any sanctions decision that can be taken against Turkey do not concern us much.
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A dispute over natural gas that has fanned territorial rows in the eastern Mediterranean flared in August when Turkey sent its Oruc Reis survey vessel to waters claimed by Greece.
Mr Erdogan mocked Greece and said it had “run” from negotiations with Turkey despite agreeing to resume talks over their conflicting maritime claims.
He said: ”On the eastern Mediterranean, we will continue to protect whatever our rights there are.
“It is never possible for us to compromise here.
“But if Greece really acts honestly as a neighbour, we will continue to be available at the table.”
Brussels chiefs left a decision on sanctions for an EU Summit on Thursday.
After withdrawing the Oruc Reis vessel for what it said was maintenance ahead of a previous EU summit in October, Ankara redeployed it shortly after, citing unsatisfactory results from the summit.
It withdrew the vessel again last week.
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European Council President Charles Michel warned Turkey not to play “cat and mouse” by withdrawing ships before EU summits, only to redeploy them afterwards.
But Ankara has said the vessel’s returns were opportunities for diplomacy, but that Greece and the EU squandered them.
The EU’s Parliament has called for sanctions against Turkey.
France is leading the push in the bloc to sanction Turkey at the summit, but President Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey would not “bow down to threats and blackmail” while repeating a call for dialogue.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated that Ankara wanted to join the bloc as a full member, but said EU statements accusing the nation of stoking tensions were wrong.
He said: “They need to be fair and honest here. If they also think strategically and with common sense, not just at the summit but always, and we achieve a positive atmosphere, we can improve our ties.
“We can only solve our problems with dialogue and diplomacy.
“We want to improve our ties with the EU. We are not saying this because there is a summit or because there are sanctions and other things on the agenda.
“We always wanted to improve our ties on the basis of full membership.”
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