Greeks rely on Austria, France in growing row with Ankara

Paris and Vienna have so far been the only EU member states who have openly backed Greece in its escalating dispute with Turkey.

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said yesterday (6 September) that his country would “continue to speak quite clearly when Turkey violates international law, human rights, media freedom and the rule of law, or uses refugees and migrants as a means of pressure.”

Similarly, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called on the EU to show zero tolerance toward Ankara and warned that if the EU backs down now then this would set a dangerous precedent.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the next EU summit on 24 September will discuss the range of measures to be taken against Turkey but not all EU countries are convinced yet.

According to diplomatic sources, Germany and Italy are more “restrained” when it comes to EU sanctions against Turkey mainly due to their fear of retaliation on migration.

EURACTIV was also informed that Italy is backing the initiative of EU Council chief Charles Michel for an international conference for the Eastern Mediterranean with the participation of Turkey. However, Turkey refuses to sit at the same table with Cyprus.

Michel had a phone call yesterday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and reiterated the EU’s support for Greece and Cyprus. (Sarantis Michalopoulos |

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