Eastern Mediterranean: Belgium ready to consider targeted EU sanctions against Turkey

The European Council should consider further actions, including the possibility of targeted sanctions “against Turkey, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Wednesday, on the eve of a summit of EU heads of state and government which will address in particular the tensions of recent months with the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey continues its comings and goings in waters of the eastern Mediterranean, rich in hydrocarbons, which it disputes with Greece and Cyprus. Ankara’s behavior in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh also irritates its partners, not to mention President Erdogan’s recurrent attacks against French President Macron.

At European level, Germany is reserved when it comes to considering sanctions against the Erdogan regime. The latter also recently repeated friendly remarks about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, with whom he has forged close relations in recent years.

Last Friday, the President of the European Council Charles Michel had already toughened his voice, calling on Ankara to stop playing “cat and mouse”. The EU certainly says it is ready to step up economic, energy and migration cooperation, but Turkey must stop “its unilateral provocations, its hostile rhetoric and the failure to respect international law,” he said. But since the October summit, “the assessment is not positive” and the European Union is therefore ready to consider “next steps” vis-à-vis Turkey, he added without citing the term. sanctions.

For Belgium, Mr. De Croo was a little more assertive. “Belgium always pleads for a positive agenda with Turkey, a dialogue in connection with the strategic and cooperation issues on migration and the fight against terrorism”, he declared before the European affairs monitoring committee of bedroom. But he also points to Ankara’s attitude, and in particular the lack of a concrete response to a European proposal for a multilateral conference on the Eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, “the European Council should consider further actions, including the possibility of targeted sanctions”, he said.

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