During EU teleconference, Greece and Germany disagree on Turkey stance


TAGS: EU, Turkey

During an EU teleconference of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on Friday, Greece and Germany disagreed on the content of the statement officials had planned to issue after the talks, according to diplomatic sources.

The Greek side insisted on a harder line against Ankara that would have demanded an immediate end to Turkey’s exploratory activities in the Eastern Mediterranean this week and that would have welcomed last week’s deal between Greece and Egypt demarcating the two countries’ exclusive economic zones.

However German officials disagreed, particularly over a proposed reference to the Greek-Egyptian deal. Berlin was irked with the timing of the Greek-Egyptian maritime accord, a day before the scheduled announcement of exploratory talks between Athens and Ankara that had been mediated by Germany.

As a result, Greece too refused to approve a proposed EU statement on the Belarus election results, meaning there was no joint statement at the end of the teleconference.

Instead European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, expressed on Twitter “full solidarity” with Greece and Cyprus and called on Turkey “for immediate de-escalation and reengaging in dialogue.”

According to sources, there was a discussion on a possible statement from Borrell’s office about examining the possibility of a moratorium on research activities in “disputed waters.”

In comments after the teleconference and following talks in Vienna with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said he was satisfied with the condemnation of Turkey’s behavior and the support shown by Greece’s and Cyprus’ partners. He said a list of sanctions is being drawn up by the FAC and will be the focus of informal discussions in Berlin on August 27 and 28.

During the teleconference, Dendias sought to present a precise picture of the "operational situation" in the region "so that friends and partners can see what Greece faces." He said Athens remained open to dialogue with Turkey "but not in a climate of pressure of blackmail" and exclusively "on the one real point of dispute between us," referring to the delineation of the continental shelf.