Borrell:  EU-Turkey ties at “watershed” point

The High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell is warning that relations are at a turning point with Turkey, over its intentions regarding the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

“The reaching out continues, hoping that the European Council will be able to develop a constructive approach to our relations with Turkey, which are, I can say that firmly, at a watershed moment in the history,” said the EU Foreign Policy Chief, underscoring that “the ball will go one side or the other, depending on what is going to happen on the next days.”

Leaders of the 27 EU member states are slated to hold talks on the latest developments vis-à-vis Turkey next week. They are expected to impose a series of economic sanctions and other possible measures if Ankara refuses to alter its aggressive behavior toward Greece and Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu reasserted his nation’s rights over the disputed waters, and accused the EU of bluffing. “To be honest, I don’t expect a sanctions decision on 24-25 September, but there could be,” he said.

With regard to Europe’s anger of Ankara’s deployment of the Oruç Reis seismic research vessel, Turkey’s top diplomat speculated that potential backlash could be directed “against our ship, our company or individuals. They took such decisions in the past.” He also dashed hope the recent retrieval of the Oruç Reis had been a show of goodwill toward the EU, and insisted it was anchored near the port of Antalya only for “routine maintenance” and supplies.

Minister Çavuşoğlu then defiantly declared that the EU’s threats have only served to further increase Turkey’s “determination.”