Turkey slams France for ‘magnifying itself’, threatening sanctions

Turkey lambasted French President Emanuel Macron for threatening European Union sanctions for its alleged transgressions of Greek and Cypriot territory in the Aegean and Mediterranean.

France is trying to magnify itself and should instead follow discreet and rational policies, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Thursday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

"Statements of President Macron have no value for our country” and threats “will have no result”, Aksoy said.

Macron called on the EU to impose sanctions on Turkey in a statement earlier this week.

“It would be a serious mistake to leave our security in the Mediterranean in the hands of other actors. This is not an option for Europe and it is not something that France will let happen,” Macron said.

Turkey's deployment of ships to search for oil and gas off Cyprus has stoked political tensions in the region. It is also planning such work near Greek islands including Crete. Earlier this week, Greek and Turkish jets flew over the Greek island of Kastellorizo, located 2 kilometres off Turkey’s southern coast, in a further tussle over territory.

The Turkish government says it has the right to explore for hydrocarbons in the region, citing its continental shelf, territorial waters and a maritime accord with the Tripoli-based government in war-torn Libya signed in November.

France should stop supporting opposition forces in Libya, who are putschists, and end its backing for those who act like they are the only owners of the East Mediterranean, Aksoy said.

Every step taken by Turkey in the Mediterranean aims to defend the legitimate rights and interests of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots founded in international law, Aksoy said. He called for dialogue and cooperation.