Sanctioning Turkey complex in several ways, says German top diplomat

The European Union should refrain from adopting premature sanctions against Turkey since there is still room for diplomacy in the crisis between Ankara and Athens, Daniela Schwarzer, the director of the German Council on Foreign Relations and special adviser to Josep Borrell, said in an exclusive interview with Kathimerini on Saturday.

Imposing sanction on Turkey is “complex in a number of ways: whether they should be imposed, to what extent, under what terms – and under what terms they should be lifted,” Schwarzer said.

“We have not yet reached the point of broad and deep sanctions. The mediation effort must be given another chance to succeed.”

EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc was considering imposing economic sanctions against Turkey over its gas drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean while urging Ankara to engage in a dialogue.

Despite growing divergences between Turkey and its traditional Western allies, neither side can afford for political, economic, and security relations to deteriorate beyond a certain point, Schwarzer said.

"It is, in any case, a relationship that is not reducible to the conflict in the eastern Mediterranean. In Germany, in particular, there is an important domestic dimension, with a significant population of Germans of Turkish origin and Turks who are permanent residents there,” she said.

Tensions have risen in the region between NATO allies Turkey and Greece after Ankara sent the Oruç Reis research vessel into territorially disputed waters earlier this month, causing a military standoff at risk of escalating into a direct confrontation.