WASHINGTON, October 30. / TASS /. The European Union will sooner or later face the need to impose sanctions against Turkey, since Ankara is unlikely to abandon its behavior in the Mediterranean. This opinion was expressed on Thursday by the Minister of National Defense of Greece Nikos Panayotopoulos during the video seminar of the German Marshall Fund.
“I understand the concern of some European partners on sanctions against Turkey (that the introduction of restrictions will cause a tough reaction from Ankara – note TASS). Sooner or later, Europe will face the inevitability of imposing sanctions, because Turkey is unlikely to abandon its provocative behavior – said the minister. – I wonder where the limit is. "
According to him, it is worth not only taking into account Ankara's "open threats" against Athens and Nicosia, but also its behavior towards Paris and other players in the Mediterranean.
"Europe must return to reality, certain actions must be taken against Turkey," the head of the department said. <...> Yes, I have to take into account the negotiation process (within the EU), but if this behavior of Turkey continues, I'm afraid there will be no alternative to the introduction of a specific kind of sanctions. "
At the same time, the minister expressed the opinion that the Turkish economy is in a fragile position and restrictions will cause further damage to it.
Turkey's purchase of the C-400
The Greek Minister of National Defense believes that Turkey's acquisition of the Russian S-400 systems showed the NATO allies a low degree of Ankara's reliability.
"Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently visited Greece, he met with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. During these meetings, it was noted that Russia wants to have good relations with Greece, but at the same time takes into account Greece's membership in NATO and EU, Panayotopoulos said. We appreciate the fact that Russia cannot ignore what we want and what we don’t. ”
"Much has been said and written about Turkey's acquisition of the S-400 from Russia. In my opinion, this creates anxiety within NATO, we see understanding of this," he added.
The minister called the concern of the United States and other countries of the alliance justified. “As far as I understand, the systems have not yet been fully activated by Turkey, there was a series of tests,” he said. “The system will be used, possibly later. <...> Turkey's credibility to NATO allies is now very well understood. This is a matter of concern for everyone. "
Russia and Turkey in 2017 signed a contract for the supply of S-400 complexes by Moscow to Ankara. Turkey was the first NATO country to acquire these systems from Russia. Ankara's decision caused a sharply negative reaction from the United States and the alliance as a whole. The United States does not stop trying to get Turkey to abandon Russian air defense systems. Due to the fact that Turkey does not give in to pressure and does not get rid of the S-400, Washington excluded Ankara from the American program for the production of fifth-generation F-35 fighters. In addition, the United States threatens Turkey for the purchase of the S-400 with the introduction of a number of unilateral sanctions.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan indicated on October 25 that Ankara does not intend to abandon the S-400, despite pressure from the United States.