Just like at the previous EU summit, Turkey de-escalates tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean by returning research vessel Oruç Reis back to its territory a few days before a crucial meeting, which could decide the future of EU-Turkey relations.
Earlier this week, EU spokesperson Peter Stano said EU leaders will discuss whether Ankara has delivered on EU leaders’ expectations, meaning de-escalation and engagement on a constructive dialogue.
Asked by EURACTIV.com if the return of Oruç Reis basically means another grace-period for Turkey to ease tensions, Stano replied: “It will not be reviewed based on one announcement or action but on actions, announcements and behaviors over a certain period of time”.
Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis held calls on Tuesday with a number of EU leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the issue.
Athens’s main objective is the EU leaders to give the mandate to EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell to write down specific sanctions to be implemented if Turkey continues its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean.
So far, potential sanctions have been oral and not on a paper.
The main country which has been cautious is Germany, and Angela Merkel stressed on Tuesday that Turkey should be respected for hosting millions of refugees. (Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)