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‘Soothing statements’ by Erdogan won’t be enough for Turkey to avoid EU sanctions, French FM warns

‘Soothing statements’ by Erdogan won’t be enough for Turkey to avoid EU sanctions, French FM warns
Paris expects ‘actions,’ not words, from Turkey, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said ahead of the crucial European Council meeting next month where sanctions against Ankara may be adopted.

“Soothing statements that we’ve heard from President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan over the past two or three days aren’t enough, we need actions,” Le Drian told Le Grand Jury program, simultaneously broadcast by RTL, Le Figaro, and LCI.

Earlier this week, Erdogan insisted that he wants “stronger cooperation with our European friends and allies” amid a cooldown in relations between Brussels and Ankara over a whole range of international issues. The EU is especially unhappy about Turkey’s involvement in the fighting in Libya, its support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and Ankara’s aggressive rivalry for maritime jurisdiction and energy exploration rights in the Mediterranean with Greece and Cyprus.

Among those “actions” expected from Turkey by France, “some can be easily done in the eastern Mediterranean, in Libya. There are also some that can be easily done in Nagorno-Karabakh,” the FM said.

“We have a lot of disagreements” with Ankara, he said, accusing Turkey of “expansionist” policies as well as acting in violation of international norms in Libya, Iraq, the eastern Mediterranean, and Nagorno-Karabakh, “where they deployed Syrian mercenaries.”

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Le Drian said EU leaders agreed last month to evaluate Turkey’s behavior and make a decision on possible sanctions against the country during a European Council meeting in December.

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