French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the European Union to pursue sanctions against Turkey over the country’s violations of the Greek exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean.
The French leader came out against Turkey’s actions this week, which have seen a research vessel deployed to territory Greece has claimed is part of their exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of the Greek island of Kastellorizo.
“I stand fully behind Cyprus and Greece in the face of the Turkish violations of their sovereignty. It is unacceptable that the maritime space of member states be violated and threatened,” Macron said during a press conference alongside President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades.
“Those who are doing that must be sanctioned,” the French president added in comments reported by Reuters.
The call for sanctions was rejected by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief advisor Ibrahim Kalın.
“Using the language of threats of sanctions will never fly here and will have no impact on Turkey’s sovereignty or determination in pursuing the national interest,” Kalın said.
Greece Puts Armed Forces on Alert as Turkish Offshore Resource Exploration Raises Tensions https://t.co/mnVphhlTuV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 22, 2020
The support from Macron comes just days after Greece issued a full alert for its own armed forces over the Turkish moves in the Mediterranean, which included 82 violations of Greek airspace by Turkish fighter jets throughout Tuesday.
While some have claimed that a call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Turkish and Greek leaders managed to avoid any conflict, Greece has remained firm that the situation has not changed.
Macron’s condemnation of Turkey in the Mediterranean comes as the two nations have also conflicted over Libya, with Turkey accusing France of backing General Khalifa Haftar against the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli.
Haftar is also backed by both Russia and Egypt, the latter of which has threatened to move its troops into Libya to maintain its own national security interests. Earlier this week, the Egyptian parliament gave the green light for President el-Sisi to deploy forces across the border.