Turkey faces new EU sanctions in the dispute over gas exploration in the Mediterranean. Now NATO’s Secretary General is intervening, warning that the dispute will escalate.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned the EU of a break with its ally Turkey. There are differences with Turkey that need to be addressed, Stoltenberg said Thursday a few hours before EU heads of state or government would discuss possible sanctions against the country.

At the same time, however, one must recognize the importance of Turkey as part of NATO and also as part of the “Western family”. The country is an important ally in the fight against the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS). In addition, Turkey is home to the most refugees of all NATO allies and has suffered the most terrorist attacks, Stoltenberg said after speaking with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa.

Dispute with Greece

The heads of state or government of the EU countries wanted to discuss relations with Turkey and possible new sanctions on Thursday evening. The reasons for this include controversial Turkish gas explorations off the coast of Cyprus and off the Greek islands.

When asked whether new EU sanctions against Turkey could also make cooperation between NATO and the EU more difficult, Stoltenberg did not respond.

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