Dendias: Turkey challenges the whole of the European Union

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

The debate on Turkey ended at noon on Monday during the Council of Foreign Ministers and European foreign ministers, including Greece's Nikos Dendias, once again discussed the European Union's stance on Turkey just before this Thursday's summit.

However, disagreements remain.

On the one hand, there is a bloc of countries that want to impose sanctions on Turkey, with France and Greece leading it.

This time, the difference is that we also have Brussels as our ally, which believes that the European Union will lose its credibility if it does not impose even weak sanctions.

And on the other hand are the more cautious countries which try to calm down the tensions and find a more moderate result.

Germany remains in this second category.

The climate in relations between Germany and Turkey has frozen due to the partial opening of Varoshia and Ankara's refusal for German commandos to search a Turkish ship off the coast of Libya.

Turks on Varoshia beach in occupied northern Cyprus.
Turks on Varoshia beach in occupied northern Cyprus.

However, the relations between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remain good. Essentially, no one knows how far Merkel will want to go at the summit.

The only thing that is certain is that there will be harsh rhetoric against Turkey in the conclusions of the summit, but it remains to be seen whether sanctions will eventually be translated into concrete measures against Turkey.

Speaking about Turkish delinquency, Dendias described how Ankara threatens Greece with war if it enacts its sovereign right of extending its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in the Aegean.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

"Extensive discussion on Turkish delinquency took place in the Council today [Monday] and it was noted by all Foreign Ministers that Turkey did not understand the positive message of the EU from the October Council," he said.

"Instead they continued its delinquent behavior and even under a framework, that is completely unacceptable, a threat of war against Greece if it extends its territorial waters to 12 miles," Dendias continued.

Dendias then highlighted that Turkey's threats of war against Greece go against the United Nations Charter Law of the Sea, in which Turkey is only one of 15 countries in the whole world to not sign and/or ratify.

"I note that UNCLOS, the convention that extends territorial waters to 12 miles, is part of European law, ratified by the EU itself, so Turkey's stance is a challenge to the Union as a whole," Dendias continued.

"From there, it became clear that there should be a reaction against Turkey and that is what will be discussed in the Council of Leaders this week," he concluded.

According to a European diplomat, the 27 diplomats on Wednesday will try to formulate the draft conclusions of the Summit for Turkey.

Maria Psara is a correspondent for Ethnos.

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor