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Turkish and French foreign ministers to meet amid tense relations

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Turkish and French foreign ministers to meet amid tense relations

Erdogan Macron
Photo: Getty

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will today speak with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The talks are expected to focus on potential European sanctions against Turkey during the December 10-11 meeting of the EU Council, where European leaders will discuss reprimanding Ankara for its policies in the Eastern Mediterranean. Along with Greece, Cyprus and Austria, France has espoused an increasingly hawkish stance vis-à-vis Turkey. Cavusoglu is expected to stress that comprehensive sanctions against Ankara could induce a permanent rupture in EU-Turkish relations and to reiterate that such an outcome could have devastating consequences such as the paralysis of NATO and the collapse of the EU-Turkish migrant deal.

Despite the desire of France and several other EU members to introduce coercive measures, nominal sanctions are more likely. Due to their vast exposure to the Turkish economy and Ankara’s importance to NATO’s operational standing, EU heavyweights such as Spain, Italy and Germany remain reluctant to adopt far-reaching sanctions.

Expect the divide within the EU regarding how to address Turkey’s growing regional assertiveness to continue in the medium-term. In addition to vested bilateral interests with Ankara, many EU states also fear that a strong rebuke of Turkey would only further destabilise the Eastern Mediterranean and eliminate any possibility of reaching a compromise.

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