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France Pushes For Sanctions On Turkey As Mediterranean Gas Crisis Escalates

France's leading efforts to push for European sanctions on fellow NATO member Turkey has picked up steam, with Paris expected to propose the punitive action next month with the backing of Greece and Cyprus, but so far with lack of enthusiasm from other EU governments.  It comes after the months-long standoff in the Eastern Mediterranean over Turkish hydrocarbon exploration and drilling, which France says is a violation of Cyprus and Greece's territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zones.

According to Reuters, "Paris says Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has not heeded EU leaders' warnings on Oct. 1 to back down in a dispute over gas exploration in the Mediterranean or face consequences."

"The European Parliament on Thursday is expected to call for sanctions, decrying Erdogan’s visit earlier this month to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the island of Cyprus," Reuters continues.

It's expected that the French sanctions would target shipping, banking, and energy sectors - all vital to Turkey's oil and gas exploration initiatives. 

Related: Why Iraq Isn’t Producing 10 Million Barrels Per Day Yet

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian issued a bit of an ultimatum at a French parliamentary hearing this week: "Confrontation or collaboration, it’s up to them," he said.

But one unnamed EU diplomat cited in Reuters underscored that "Turkey is a key partner in many areas, so there’s no consensus in the Council (of EU governments). It is still too early" - which suggests a likely uphill battle before any European sanctions actually become a reality.

France in the past months has gone so far as to join naval and aerial exercises with the Greek and Cypriot militaries in the Mediterranean as a "warning" to Turkey. However, Erdogan has appeared undeterred. 

By Zerohedge.com

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  • Erol karaokcu on November 28 2020 said:

    Who is France to speak while taking advantage of (colonizing) poor people of many African and Pacific countries and selling many French goods in Turkey. What kind of show is this?

    France has no right to speak for Eastern Mediterranean and in no state to talk about aggression.

    This is ridiculous! if it will see any credit in any of the other EU countries they will be in the same category.
  • Mamdouh Salameh on November 28 2020 said:
    The European Union (EU) is an economic superpower but without teeth to impose any punitive sanctions on Turkey and Turkey knows that. That is why President Recep Tayyip Erdogan isn’t intimidated by the threat of EU sanctions.

    The lack of a robust and united transatlantic response to Turkey’s naval actions in the Eastern Mediterranean has emboldened Ankara to take further actions, particularly at a time when President Erdogan seeks to project independent power abroad and heightens nationalistic sentiment at home to distract the Turkish population from great economic difficulties.

    The solution is to stand firm in the face of Turkey’s muscular approach but also address its legitimate demands over Cyprus.

    As Turkey’s economic situation deteriorates, engaging it by offering it greater economic opportunities such as expanding the EU bilateral trade relationship with it and increasing foreign direct investment, might help bring Turkey back from the precipice. The alternative is war.

    And while President Trump may have alienated some of the world’s leaders, his relations with Turkey have generally been good. The Erdogan-Trump relationship has yet to be derailed despite Turkey’s purchase last year of the Russian-made S-400 air defence system.

    Now that Turkey tested the S-400, Biden is basically bound to go ahead with sanctions against Turkey. Whether he decides to implement them or not remains to be seen.

    Biden will reach out to President Erdogan because his priorities are going to be to resuscitate NATO and cornering Russia both of which can’t be done without help from Turkey.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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