Greece to Prepare Push for Sanctions Against Turkish Activity in the Med

This photo provided Friday Aug.14, 2020 by the French Defense Ministry shows the French Tonnerre helicopter carrier, center, escorted by Greek and French military vessels during a maritime exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Greece's prime minister warmly thanked France Thursday for boosting its military presence in …
French Defence Ministry via AP

The Greek government is preparing to push the European Union to introduce sanctions against Turkey if the country’s provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean continue.

The Greek and Turkish governments are expected to renew talks on August 24th. But Greece is wary that the Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not halt its planned seismic research in the Greek exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is expected to raise the issue at an EU leaders conference this week. But according to a report from newspaper Kathimerini, the government is waiting until an informal foreign ministers summit later this month to push for sanctions.

The paper notes that the 27th is the deadline for a Turkish government response to a request from the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) which wants to conduct research off the coast of several Greek islands, including Crete.

The Turkish navy is deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean as Greek armed forces also remain on alert.

Both Italy and Egypt have also submitted maritime economic deals with Greece that are expected to be taken to the Greek parliament for approval next week. The arrangement conflicts with an agreement between Turkey and Libya that Turkey has used as justification for its exploratory research.

The tensions in the Mediterranean have not been limited to just Turkey and Greece. Turkey has earned the criticism of several other countries, including Egypt, which opposed Turkish-backed militias in Libya, and more recently, France.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced he would be increasing French naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and has expressed full support for the Greek government.

As a result, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned the French over escalating existing tensions in the area.

Last month, Macron also backed the idea of the EU pursuing sanctions against Turkey over its activities.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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