In the face of increased tensions with Turkey, the Greek government on Thursday urged the EU to impose “severe sanctions” on the neighboring country. This comes after a period of greatly-heightened conflict between Greece and Turkey over sea borders.
The Greek Prime Minister is meeting on Thursday afternoon with Emmanuel Macron, the Prime Minister of France, in Corsica to discuss the rising tensions in the east Mediterranean. France has been a staunch ally of Greece, advocating for a tough approach to Turkey.
Turkey has been sending out research vessels, guided by warships, into Greek waters, hoping to find energy resources in the east Mediterranean.
Turkey claims that the waters are contested, and that Greece unlawfully controls parts of the East Mediterranean that they believe should be Turkish.
Recent events reached a boiling point when Turkey suggested that some of Greece’s islands that are far away from Athens, such as Kastellorizo, should belong to Turkey instead.
Turkish President Erdogan even reportedly stated that Turkey “has the political, economic and military power to throw away immoral maps and documents imposed by others,” threatening Greece’s land and sea territory.
Despite repeated calls from world leaders for Greece and Turkey to de-escalate conflict in the region, Turkey has expanded energy exploration missions in the Mediterranean.
Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis stated on Thursday that if Turkey does not remove military and research vessels from Cypriot waters, the EU must issue “severe sanctions.”
Varvitsiotis argued that this move would “send the message that Europe is here to negotiate but is also here to defend its values,” according to the international press.