France warns Turkey not to cross ‘red line’ in the Mediterranean   

Paris: A severe reaction has emerged from France and the European Union (EU) over Turkey’s aggressive activities with respect to the exploration of natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea. French President Emmanuel Macron warned Turkey not to cross the red line in the Mediterranean Sea. Macron indicated initiating military action if Turkey violates the red line. On the other hand, the EU has cautioned Turkey that it would impose sanctions against the country in case of such violation. Meanwhile, as France and EU issued threats, the Turkish and Greek warplanes were found to have engaged in a dogfight (an aerial battle between fighter aircraft).    

The ties between Turkey and France for the past few months were strained due to the Libya war, stance of NATO and excavation of natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea. On Friday, the French President criticised the aggressive stance of Turkey against Greece and Cyprus, two fellow NATO members. Macron blamed Turkish activities for creating tensions and insecurity in the Mediterranean Sea. Additionally, President Macron said, ‘It is pertinent for Turkey to abide by its promise of safeguarding sovereignty of the Mediterranean Sea region as a NATO member. However, for the past few years, Turkey’s behaviour has not complied with NATO norms.’  

President Macron hinted that Turkey must not cross the red line in the Mediterranean by taking a hostile stance. Otherwise, France would take action against Turkey as it did with Syria. Furthermore, Macron also reminded of the French air raids over chemical weapons stockpile in Syria. Before they did that, France had warned the Assad regime not to cross the red line too. Nevertheless, as the Syrian Army used chemical weapons even after the warning, France was forced to launch an attack.   

On the contrary, Macron has demanded EU sanctions against Turkey, which has violated EU sanctions with the excavation of natural gas in the Mediterranean and illegal arms smuggling. Therefore, senior EU lawmaker Josep Borell informed that they were preparing for sanctions against Turkey. Borell went on to say that the EU was supporting Greece and Cyprus in the dispute over the Mediterranean. Also, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has appealed for resolving the dispute over the region through negotiations.  

Two days ago, President Erdogan had threatened that Turkey would not compromise when it came to protecting its sovereign rights in the Mediterranean, Aegean and the Black Sea regions. At the same time, Turkey announced holding live-fire drills as well. Claiming the drills, a threat to its security, Greece and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have begun conducting air exercise. A fleet of UAE’s F-16 fighters had arrived at the Greek Island of Crete for participating in the exercise. Turkish Defence Ministry informed that Turkish and Greek planes engaged in a dogfight over the Mediterranean skies. Additional details on the incident are yet to be released. 

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