Turkey rejects EU sanctions plan as Erdogan seeks calm

ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkey on Friday dismissed as “unlawful” an European Union (UN) plan for sanctions over its maritime disputes with Greece and Cyprus, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged calm.

After a marathon Thursday summit, EU leaders decided to draw up a list of Turkish targets for sanctions because of Ankara’s “unilateral actions and provocations” in the eastern Mediterranean, believed to be rich in energy resources.

But Turkey, an EU candidate country whose accession process has frozen over many issues including its human rights record, is also at risk of such reprisals from North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally the United States over its controversial acquisition of Russian defence systems.

The extent of European and possible US sanctions was not immediately known, but they could weigh on the vulnerable Turkish economy. They could also hurt the already depreciating Turkish currency, which suffered further losses on Friday before rallying.

“We reject the biased and unlawful attitude which had to be inserted into the December 10 EU summit conclusions after the pressure of solidarity and veto,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry stated.

A lack of consensus among member states blocked broader economic sanctions and prevented Greece’s attempts to impose a European arms embargo on Ankara.