US, EU condemn Turkey but sanctions off the table for now

Both Washington and Brussels condemned Tuesday (2 June) Turkey’s announcement that in three months it will start gas drilling activities in territories which are part of Greece’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

EU spokesperson Peter Stano said that while sanctions were still on the table, it was “premature” to have such a discussion now. Meanwhile, Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi has confirmed that Ankara will join the club of EU-hopeful countries that will receive EU funds under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).

Critics suggest that the fear of fresh migration waves from Turkey to Europe determines the EU’s policy toward Ankara. In the midst of a pandemic, it would be disastrous to have increased migration flows on Greek islands.

“That is why the channels of communication must remain open with Ankara,” a source told (Sarantis Michalopoulos |

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