Brussels issues fresh warning to Ankara after new maritime incident involving Turkish naval forces

EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

European flags flutter in the wind in front of the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 27 October 2017.

Brussels issues fresh warning to Ankara after new maritime incident involving Turkish naval forces


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The European Commission on Tuesday issued another warning to Ankara after a Turkish navy vessel reportedly rammed a Greek Coast Guard ship near the Aegean Island of Imia earlier in the day.

The incident came only a day after both the European Council President Donald Tusk called on Turkey “to avoid threats or actions against any EU member and instead commit to good neighbourly relations.”

Those comments came after an incident at the weekend that involved a vessel contracted by Italian oil company Eni as it approached a natural gas exploring area off the coast of Cyprus and was unexpectedly halted by the Turkish Navy.

The European Commission issued a timid warning to Ankara saying that it had to stop its provocative actions and refrain from making inflammatory statements.

“Negative statements that damage good, neighbourly ties need to be avoided, especially in the run-up to Varna,” European Commission chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said that ahead in reference to a March 26 EU-Turkey Summit that will take place in the Bulgaria.

“Regarding the incident in the Aegean, we are following this development closely,” said Schinas. “We reiterate the need for Turkey to unequivocally commit to good, neighbourly relations and avoid any kind of friction or threat against an (EU) member state.”

Schinas confirmed that the Greek vessel was co-financed by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. “I think that this is another compelling reason that reinforces my statement because the EU taxpayer contributes to the effective policing of the external border of the EU.”

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