European Union

Greece on Tuesday stepped up the pressure on its EU partners to act against Turkey over its “provocative” actions in the Mediterranean.

It is also urging the EU to suspend military equipment exports and scupper a free-trade agreement.

In a letter to German, Spanish and Italian counterparts, Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias accused Ankara of seeking a fait accompli through military means.

Dendias pointed to a European Council’s decision to suspend military exports to countries displaying aggression and said it applies to Turkey.

Separately, Dendias wrote to the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Oliver Varhelyi, arguing that the European Union should consider suspending a customs union deal with Turkey, the ANA-MPE news agency reported quoting diplomatic sources.

The customs union has been in place since 1995. Turkey is EU’s fifth-largest trade partner and the EU is by far the largest partner for Turkey.

With that, the European Commission should send a “message” over Ankara’s “illegal actions.”

Greece is feuding with Turkey over Ankara’s push into the exploration of gas reserves in waters that Athens claims as its own.

The row fanned old tensions between the foes, who are, however, partners in NATO.

Further, Greece is complaining that Turkey is violating the free-trade agreement with the EU through tariffs and other obstacles.

In yet another point of contention, Athens complained to the EU, United States and United Nations over Turkey’s announcement that it has expanded its search-and-rescue zone into Greek waters.

Ankara insists that it is bound to help vessels in distress off the Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete, but Athens dismissed it as political, not humanitarian.

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