Faced with the prospect of sanctions from both the US and Europe, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that economic penalties would be detrimental to all sides and that Turkey’s disputes with its allies can be resolved through dialogue and cooperation.
Erdogan’s comments came hours after the EU gave the green light for the expansion of sanctions against Turkey over its exploration of gas reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters claimed by EU members Greece and Cyprus.
Turkey also faces US sanctions over its purchase of a Russian air defense system, which has already resulted in the NATO-member being kicked out of the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter program.
The EU and NATO are planning to hold a summit with US President-elect Joe Biden after he takes office in January. Many EU states are also members of the NATO alliance.
The move would further batter Turkey’s economy, which is already struggling with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and battling double-digit inflation.
Facing the heat Turkey’s President called for dialogue
Erdogan said in a teleconference address to his ruling party’s officials “We have deep-rooted political and economic relations with both the United States and the European Union, which neither side can ignore or certainly risk losing.”
He added, “There is no issue that cannot be solved through dialogue and cooperation”.
Last year also, the EU set up a system for imposing travel bans and asset freezes on people, companies, or organizations linked to contested drilling activities. Two Turkish Petroleum Corporation officials are already on the list, and the leaders say those sanctions should be broadened.
EU governments including Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden said last year they were halting or restricting arms export licenses for Turkey.
But with growing Turkey’s involvement in Libya, the Mediterranean, and its purchase of a Russian weapons system, the situation worsened for Turkey under Erdogan’s Presidency with time.
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