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20 Oct, 2020 16:52

Greece urges EU states to stop military exports to Turkey & consider suspending customs union deal

Greece urges EU states to stop military exports to Turkey & consider suspending customs union deal

Athens wants EU countries to halt military exports to Turkey, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Tuesday, accusing Ankara of violating the criteria of integration into the bloc.

Speaking of the request to other EU members to stop the exports, Dendias claimed that “this equipment is being used in actions that destabilize our region.”

“Turkey continues to violate the fundamental criteria of integration into the EU,” Dendias added. Ankara’s entry talks with the EU started in 1999, but have been long stalled.

The minister said that he has also written to EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, complaining that Ankara is violating its customs union with the bloc. Athens wants the EU to examine potential measures against Turkey, and they could even include suspending the customs union, Dendias said, to send “a clear message of condemnation for the continuing Turkish behavior of violations.”

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The customs union has allowed for the free movement of goods between the EU and Turkey.

Ankara is currently engaged in a dispute with Greece and Cyprus over oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Last week, EU leaders said at their summit that if Turkey does not end “unilateral actions and provocations” in the region, they would consider sanctions in December.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday that Ankara is on the side of “peace and dialogue,” adding that exploratory talks with Greece should continue. “Let’s solve the problems by talking, but everyone should have seen and understood that we won’t submit to any fait accompli, coercion or pressure,” he added.

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