The Turkish Foreign Ministry warns of the threat of action in the face of the conflict between Greece and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey has rejected threats of sanctions from the European Union for its energy exploration activities in the disputed Eastern Mediterranean.

EU leaders warned early Friday they could sanction Turkey if it did not stop what the bloc sees as illegal drilling and research in waters claimed by Cyprus and Greece.

“The continued use of the language of the sanctions is not constructive,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. “The EU must now understand that it cannot do anything with such a discourse.”

The conflict over the resource-rich seabed was averted after Ankara and Athens agreed last month to hold exploratory talks.

Neighbors, both NATO members, staged rival war games in disputed waters and stepped up their rhetoric in August, leading Greece and Cyprus to demand a robust EU response.

The EU Summit Declaration offered Turkey the prospect of closer relations and better trade if Ankara undertook to “continue the dialogue in good faith and refrain from unilateral action”.

While the Turkish ministry welcomed these “positive elements” it said “some parts are disconnected from reality”.

The EU statement showed how some countries wanted to “build relations with Turkey” but was also an example of how Greece and Cyprus had “taken EU-Turkey relations hostage,” the ministry said.

Berkay Mandiraci, a Turkish analyst with the International Crisis Group, said the EU statement was “the best Ankara has hoped for”.

Turkey also called on the EU to promote the dialogue between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriots in the northern third of the island in order to set up a mechanism to coordinate hydrocarbon activities.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup in Nicosia that aimed to unite the entire island with Greece.


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