French President Emmanuel Macron attends a joint news conference with his counterpart of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on July 23. (REUTERS Photo)
PARIS, July 23 (Reuters): France's president on Thursday said it would be a serious error by the European Union to not respond to provocations in the Eastern Mediterranean and said he wanted more sanctions on those who violated Greek and Cypriot maritime space.
Emmanuel Macron's comments come after Turkey's navy on Tuesday issued an advisory for seismic surveys in an area of sea between Cyprus and Crete, a move Greece said was an attempt by Ankara to encroach on its continental shelf.
"In this part of the Mediterranean, which is vital for our two countries, energy and security issues are essential. What's at stake is a power struggle in particular of Turkey and Russia which are asserting themselves more and more and in the face of which the EU is still doing too little," Macron told reporters alongside his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades.
"It would be a serious mistake to leave our security in the Mediterranean in the hands of other actors. This is not an option for Europe and it is not something that France will let happen."
The European Union has already imposed some sanctions on Turkey over drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean, but Macron said more sanctions would be needed to stop the violations.
"I stand fully behind Cyprus and Greece in the face of the Turkish violations of their sovereignty. It is unacceptable that the maritime space of (EU) member states be violated and threatened. Those who are doing that must be sanctioned."
Macron, who has criticised Turkey for months over Ankara's role in Libya, also said the EU should push for sanctions over those involved in the north african country's conflict.
"It is necessary to obtain a ceasefire and begin a real dynamic towards a political solution to the Libyan conflict," he said.