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Macron Calls on Turkey to Resume ‘Responsible Dialog’ After Threatening With Sanctions

Ankara earlier accused France, and the EU at large of hampering solving problems in the disputed Eastern Mediterranean, where both Turkey and Greece claim energy exploration rights.

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Turkey to restart bona fide talks over the Eastern Mediterranean region, shortly after threatening with sanctions and calling on the European Union to rise jointly against Ankara.

“In Ajaccio, we sent a clear message to Turkey: let’s reopen a responsible dialogue, in good faith, without naivety. This call is now also that of the European Parliament. It seems to have been heard. Let’s move on,” Macron tweeted in Turkish.

On Friday, Turkey accused Macron of adding fuel to the fire in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey and Northern Cyprus claim exclusive rights for exploration of local gas fields.

Speaking to Britain’s Channel 4 News in an exclusive interview, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that although the French president is scrambling to assume the role of France’s historic emperor Napoleon, Macron is not strong enough for the role, and is purportedly attempting to overshadow his problems back home by seeking a mediating part in the contested area, namely the Aegean sea.

Akar stressed that Turkey stands on guard of its rights and interests, reminding that it has approximately 2,000 kilometres (around 1,242 miles) of coastline in the regional waters.

Addressing the EU’s stance on the matter, Akar said the bloc does not contribute to the solution but has conversely,  has become a part of the deadlock, as it lacks authority to set or change rules or draw borders in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Tensions have recently spiked over energy exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.

They have been brewing for many months around Turkey’s drilling for gas in the waters that neighbouring Cyprus and Greece claim as their exclusive economic zones, while Ankara claimed its lengthy coastline entitles the country to do so. The row escalated this summer, when Turkey sent the Oruc Reis ship, accompanied by a fleet of military vessels, to drill in what Greece deems as its continental shelf.

On Sunday, Oruc Reis reportedly left the Eastern Mediterranean waters for its base near Turkey’s Antalya amid spiralling tensions.

Last week, the seven Mediterranean EU members, including France and Greece, stressed they are prepared to sanction Ankara if it does not resume dialogue and persists in its allegedly unilateral gas exploration activities in the disputed area.

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