President Erdoğan says any EU sanctions would not have big impact

ANKARA

Any sanctions imposed by the European Union on Turkey will not have a great impact, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 9, adding that the bloc had never acted honestly or kept its promises since 1963 when Ankara and Brussels signed the Association Agreement (Ankara Agreement).

“Any sanctions against Turkey will not concern us too much. In other words, they constantly have been applying sanctions since 1963,” Erdoğan told a news conference before departing for Azerbaijan.

“The European Union has never treated us honestly. The European Union has never stood by its promise, but we have always been patient since that day, and still, we are patient,” Erdoğan stated.

The “honest leaders” within the EU were against sanctions, and they did not welcome such steps against Ankara, he said ahead of an EU summit on Dec. 10.

On Dec. 7, EU foreign ministers said Turkey had failed to help resolve a dispute with EU members Greece and Greek Cyprus over natural gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean. But they have left any decision to be made on retaliatory sanctions until an EU summit on Dec. 10.

On Dec. 7, Mitsotakis said his country has succeeded in mobilizing the EU against Turkey in the disagreement on the eastern Mediterranean dispute.

Reminding the statements of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Erdoğan said, “In fact, they are the ones who always run away from the table.”

Erdoğan said that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had called on Greece for the negotiations which aimed deconfliction with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, but Athens avoided to continue the talks.

Erdoğan also cited an initiative among Turkey, Albania and Greece, which Athens did not respond positively.

Ankara would continue to defend its rights, along with Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean, despite the pressure exerted by the EU, he said.

Erdoğan also said he would discuss strained U.S. relations with President-elect Joe Biden when he takes office, noting that they had met before and were familiar with each other.

Erdoğan played down the possibility of sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of Russian missile defense systems.

“We don’t find the statements they [the U.S. administration] make and the actions they take regarding our arms procurements to be nice. We especially don’t find their approach in northern Syria to be right,” he said.

The bilateral ties have been hit by Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, differences in policy on Syria, and the detention of U.S. consulate employees and citizens in Turkey.

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