İrem UZUN -TDO- The European Union on Friday threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey amid increasingly tense ties with Ankara over its continued drilling for gas in the East Mediterranean, and its roles in regional conflicts. European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen called on Ankara to "abstain from unilateral actions" in the eastern Mediterranean after a meeting of the EU leaders.

Von der Leyen told reporters that the EU wanted "a positive and constructive relationship with Turkey and this would be also be very much in Ankara's interest". "But it will only work if the provocations and pressures stop," she said. "We therefore expect that Turkey from now on abstains from unilateral actions. In case of such renewed actions by Ankara, the EU will use all its instruments and options available. We have a toolbox that we can apply immediately."

After their late-night meeting, EU members agreed to review Turkey's behavior in December and impose sanctions if "provocations" had not stopped. “The European Union needs to scrap accession talks with Turkey and impose sanctions on it over its maritime dispute with Greece and a crackdown on journalists and members of the opposition”, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.

In response to EU’s threats, Fahrettin Altun, Turkey’s communications director, said the EU imposing sanctions on Turkey would be profoundly irrational. “Europe's security begins in Turkey. Strong European-Turkey relations help European countries as much as they do Turkey... Turkey is a chance for Europe with its position, opportunities, and capabilities and so Europe should appreciate it,” he added.

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