Greece has successfully turned the Turkey-Greece conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean into a Turkey-EU conflict, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Monday.
Speaking on a TV broadcast, Mitsotakis said his country has succeeded in mobilizing the EU against Turkey in the disagreement on the Eastern Mediterranean dispute.
He claimed that the bloc gave Turkey “a chance” in the summit held in October, but Turkey “did not embrace the positive step.”
“Most Europeans are on Athens’ side. We have many allies,” Mitsotakis said in response to if the bloc would use the veto card against the potential approval of sanctions on Turkey.
The Greek prime minister also said Turkey needs to “reevaluate” its relations with the EU.
Despite the fact that Greek delegations have refused to attend NATO-led military de-escalation talks since Oct. 9, 2020, Mitsotakis said Greece was ready to discuss the issue with Turkey.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiation. Yet, Turkey has also criticized the EU’s stance on the Eastern Mediterranean conflict, calling on the bloc to adopt a fair attitude regarding the dispute and to stop favoring Greece under the pretext of EU solidarity.
“We are ready to discuss the continental shelf and maritime jurisdiction areas under this scope, provided that there are no tensions in the sea,” he said, adding that Athens would also respect the decision made by the International Court of Justice if the two sides fail to reach an agreement.
NATO members Turkey and Greece are at odds over conflicting claims to hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and overlapping views on the extent of their continental shelves.
Ankara accuses Athens of pursuing maximalist policies in the region and underlines that its maritime claims constitute a violation of Turkey’s sovereign rights.
Turkey has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot administration.
On Monday, EU foreign ministers met to discuss sanctions against Turkey over the Eastern Mediterranean dispute before the bloc’s leaders make a decision to impose punitive measures in the summit that will be held later this week.
France and the European Parliament say it is time to punish Turkey, a NATO ally and candidate to join the EU that is seen in Brussels as fueling the gas dispute for domestic politics.
The European Parliament called for sanctions on Nov. 26, but the return of the Oruç Reis to port and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call for dialogue may give the EU reasons to hold off for now.