France targets sanctions against Turkey in European Union with Greece, Cyprus support

New DelhiEdited By: Gravitas deskUpdated: Dec 04, 2020, 11:41 AM IST

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Emmanuel Macron. Photograph:(Others)

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In its fight against Turkey, France should be able to count on Germany for support.

The French have been fighting the war against radical Islam on two levels: it is cracking down on extremists at home while taking on the challenge from the Muslim leaders abroad specifically Turkey.

After Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a boycott of French goods, Paris mounted a diplomatic offensive. For weeks, Erdogan berated the French president and even hurled insults but with these comments, Erdogan went a step too far.

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The French government immediately decided to recall its ambassador from Turkey. France and Turkey have been at loggerheads over a range of issues but Erdogan's attack against Macron was a new low.

The ties between Turkey and France have hit rock bottom. When Erdogan called for a boycott of French goods in the eyes of several European leaders, the Turkish president went a step too far.

Now France could be planning a retaliation. The Macron government is reportedly leading a diplomatic effort for sanctions against Turkey at the European Union. The plan is to target Turkey over its provocations in the eastern Mediterranean which is a region rich in natural resources where Greece and Turkey have overlapping claims.

The French believe Erdogan has failed to pay heed to the warnings of the bloc. European leaders wanted Turkey to back down from its aggressive gas exploration. A detailed list of sanctions is yet to be drawn up but reports say the sanctions could hit the Turkish economy limiting hydrocarbon exploration and dealing a blow to its shipping, banking and energy sectors.

In its fight against Turkey, France should be able to count on Germany for support. In October, German chancellor Angela Merkel appeared before the press after a meeting in Brussels she said European powers agree Turkey's actions have been provocative and unnecessary.

However, it seems Turkey is not interested in following Europe's path. Last month, Erdogan paid a visit to northern Cyprus which is a disputed territory. Northern Cyprus is 36 per cent of the total area of Cyprus which Turkey recognises as the Turkish republic of northern Cyprus while the United Nations says the disputed mass of land is currently under Turkish occupation.

Erdogan's visit angered Cyprus with Greece too condemning it. France has reportedly convinced both countries and they are ready to back sanctions against Turkey.