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Can EU sanctions threat cool Turkey’s moves in eastern Mediterranean?

EU leaders will gather on Sept. 24 to discuss sanctions on Turkey over its aggressive stance against Greece and Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, where despite its hawkish statements, Ankara may be backing down.
BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 28: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Josep Borrell, EU Foreign Minister make their way to a press conference after informal talks between the EU Foreign Ministers at the Foreign Office in Berlin on August 28, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. The topics of the so-called Gymnich meeting include the developments in Belarus and the dispute over natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean between Turkey and the EU states Greece and Cyprus. (Photo by Kay Nietfeld - Pool / Getty Images)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he does not believe the European Union will impose sanctions on Turkey for its dispute with Greece over territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, hinting that should it do so, Turkey could unleash millions of migrants on Europe. “We made the decision not to prevent migrants from going to Europe and this decision is still valid,” Cavusoglu told the pro-government NTV news channel today.

Cavusoglu repeated Ankara’s claims that it was France, Greece and Greek Cyprus who were pushing for sanctions that are set to be weighed at a meeting of the EU Council of Ministers on Sept. 24-25 in Brussels. Cavusoglu said that Ankara had succeeded in making the EU see reason. “As we explained ourselves, EU members came to realize that we were right,” Cavusoglu claimed. Recent developments, however, suggest the opposite: that faced with the threat of EU sanctions and rumblings of discontent from Washington, it's Ankara that’s backing down.

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