Macron seeks EU action, sanctions over Turkey's violations in eastern Mediterranean

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that it would be a grave error by the European Union to not respond to Turkey's moves in the eastern Mediterranean and called for more sanctions on those who violated Greek and Cypriot maritime zones, Reuters reported.

“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,” Reuters cited Macron as saying during a press conference alongside his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades.

On Tuesday, Turkey's navy issued an advisory known as a Navtex, saying it would conduct seismic surveys between the Mediterranean islands of Cyprus and Crete.

Athens accused Turkey of seeking to enroach on Greece's continental shelf in an escalation of tensions between the two NATO allies.

“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 added.

Turkey's deployment of vessels to search for oil and gas off Cyprus has stoked tensions in the region, where a number of countries are vying for the rights to drill for hydrocarbon resources - prompting the EU to hit Ankara with sanctions in February. France has been seeking additional sanctions against Turkey, which the French president said is necessary to stop Ankara's violations.

“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,” Macron said.