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Greece Calls for the Suspension of EU-Turkey Customs Union in Diplomatic Offensive

Credit: AMNA

Greece has asked the European Union to examine the possibility of fully suspending its customs union with Turkey, as Athens launched a new diplomatic offensive against Turkey’s repeated and ongoing provocations in the Mediterranean.
In a letter to the European Commissioner for enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias stressed that Turkey continues to unilaterally violate the EU-Turkey customs union by adopting tariffs, legislative and other equivalent measures not foreseen under the agreement.
In this context, he called on the European Commission to immediately consider the adoption of further measures.
Varhelyi also stressed that as a message of disapproval for Turkey’s ongoing delinquent behavior against the European Union, the possibility of a complete suspension of the EU-Turkey customs union should also be considered.
On Monday the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a barrage of diplomatic initiatives including:
– a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres denouncing Turkey’s highly destabilizing actions.
– a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in which, in addition to briefing on the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is emphasized that Turkish behavior not only violates the basic rules of conduct of an allied country, but also creates the risk of destabilizing NATO’s southeastern flank and contradicts the provisions of the Greece-US Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement.
– a letter to the High Representative of the EU and Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell on Turkish delinquency, which will emphasize Greece’s fundamental right to invoke Article 42.7 of the Treaty on European Union (Mutual Defense clause).
– a report to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regarding the illegal announcement of the extension of the Turkish area of search-and-rescue responsibility, which overlaps with areas of Greek sovereignty and jurisdiction, which therefore does not produce legal results and at the same time does not serve to protect human life.
– A complaint to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on the same issue.
– A strenuous protest action has been taken by the Greek embassy in Ankara to the Turkish side.
– An immediate briefing of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency FRONTEX, which operates in part of the area in question under Greek jurisdiction.
– Deploring Turkey’s destabilizing role at the international level and at the same time highlighting to all relevant international bodies the continuously deteriorating human rights situation in Turkey.
(With information from AMNA)

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