All European Union member states are obliged to support Greece in a heated territorial dispute with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, German Chancellor Angel Merkel said on Thursday.
“All European Union countries are obliged to support Greece on the eastern Mediterranean issue,” Gazete Duvar cited Merkel as telling reporters. Merkel said she “discussed the issue in depth” with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Tensions have risen in the region between NATO allies Turkey and Greece after Ankara sent the Oruç Reis research vessel into territorially disputed waters earlier this month, causing a military standoff at risk of escalating into a direct confrontation.
Merkel’s statement follows Greece’s call earlier on Friday for EU sanctions on Turkey.
“I am waiting with great interest for (EU foreign policy chief) Josep Borrell’s announcement on the options for sanctions on Turkey,” Kathimerini cited Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias as saying ahead of an informal meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Berlin next month.
“We consider this an absolute necessity in order to achieve a de-escalation in the Mediterranean,” he said.
However, Germany is reportedly concerned that imposing sanctions on Turkey would undermine efforts to reach an understanding with Ankara.
Many EU governments seem to believe that putting pressure on Turkey will only harden its stance, a source told Kathimerini. “This makes it difficult to impose sanctions,” the source said.