Turkey sanctions on table for upcoming EU meeting - French foreign minister

Ankara’s escalating conflict with Athens and Nicosia over hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean will be the main subject at this month's European Council meeting, when the bloc will consider sanctions against Turkey, France said on Sunday.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his counterparts in other EU countries have already discussed "the range of reprisals we could take with regards to Turkey,"AFP cited Le Drian as saying.

Greece and Turkey have long disagreed on overlapping claims on hydrocarbon resources in the region, with both sides holding conflicting views of how far their continental shelves extend in waters.

Turkey disputes Greece’s claim to exclusive rights in the waters, where Turkey's Oruç Reis vessel, along with a naval escort, is surveying for hydrocarbon resources. Greece says the vessel is over its own continental shelf, where it has exclusive rights on potential undersea gas and oil, and has deployed its own warships to shadow the Turkish vessels. Greek naval exercises in the region were later bolstered by the deployment of French frigates and fighter jets.

Meanwhile, EU leaders are set to meet for a two-day summit from Sept. 24, when they will decide whether to sanction Ankara over its activities in the region.

Le Drian urged Erdoğan to begin talks over its regional ambitions between now and the upcoming European Council meeting, AFP said.

"It's up to the Turks to show that this matter... can be discussed," the French foreign minister told France Inter radio. "If so, we can create a virtuous circle for all the problems on the table."