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France, EU lawmakers push for sanctions on Turkey next month

BRUSSELS – France is leading a push for European Union sanctions on Turkey next month to follow through on a threat made by the bloc in October, but has yet to win support from EU governments beyond Greece and Cyprus, officials and diplomats told Reuters.

Paris says Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has not heeded EU leaders’ warnings on Oct. 1 to back down in a dispute over gas exploration in the Mediterranean or face consequences.

The European Parliament on Thursday is expected to call for sanctions, decrying Erdogan’s visit earlier this month to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north of the island of Cyprus.

“Turkey knows what it needs to do,” France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a French parliamentary hearing this week. “Confrontation or collaboration, it’s up to them.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has criticised the EU for discussing sanctions, saying such debate was not helpful.

No detailed sanctions have been drawn up by France, but diplomats say any measures would hit areas of Turkey’s economy aimed at limiting Turkish hydrocarbon exploration, likely in shipping, banking and energy.

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