European Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday briefed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on last week’s limited sanctions, emphasising that de-escalation is required in the region.
European Union leaders agreed last week to prepare limited sanctions on Turkish individuals over an energy exploration dispute with Greece and Cyprus, postponing any harsher steps until March as countries sparred over how to handle Ankara.
Speaking to members of the press on Tuesday, Michel said that he had spoken to Erdogan about “the need for de-escalation to be sustained and deepened, exploratory talks with Greece to be resumed and Cyprus settlement talks under the auspices of the UN to restart as early as possible.
“Over the past months we have seen hostile comments and action, these are clearly mentioned in last week’s conclusions so de-escalation is needed,” Michel said.
On Monday, however, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey will not abandon its rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean because of possible European Union sanctions or criticism.
Answering questions in parliament as part of annual budget talks, Cavusoglu said: “It is out of the question for us to abandon our rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean because we will face sanctions or the EU will criticise us.”