Christian Berger, outgoing head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, has said that although Ankara has met a majority of the EU's requirements for visa liberation, a couple of remaining criteria continue to remain challenging hurdles that the Turkish government needs to tackle. “The Turkish ministries need to tell us how they these issues will be solved. We are here, so the process is still continuing,” he said, emphasizing the importance of the superiority of law and right to a fair trial.
Turkey said on Aug. 30 that it is capable of deterring anyone that challenges its stance with regards to the eastern Mediterranean issue by “dispatching an armada.” The statement came after French President Macron said he had adopted a "red-line policy" in the region by backing Greece against Turkey over the exploration of energy resources.
Turkey said it will hold a military exercise off northwest Cyprus for the next two weeks, amid growing tension with Greece over disputed claims to exploration rights in the east Mediterranean. The European Union's top diplomat said on Aug. 28 the bloc was preparing sanctions against Turkey that could be discussed at a summit in late September in response to Ankara's standoff with EU member Greece.
The European Union has said that it's "deeply saddened" by the death of Ebru Timtik, a lawyer who had been on a death fast for 238 days with the demand to be tried fairly. "Turkey urgently needs to demonstrate concrete progress on the rule of law and fundamental freedoms," read a statement released by European Commission foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano.
The European Union is preparing sanctions against Turkey in response to the eastern Mediterranean dispute with Greece. EU foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell said on Aug. 28 such measures may be discussed at a meeting of the bloc’s leaders next month. Borrell's comments came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Aug. 28 that all EU countries are obliged to support Greece against Turkey.
Greek lawmakers on Aug. 27 ratified a maritime agreement with Egypt on boundaries in the Eastern Mediterranean. Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said "their ratification is urgent" given "Turkey's illegal activities."
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak was threatened by one of his European counterparts in the past, pro-government columnist Abdülkadir Selvi said on Aug. 27. When asked about when the said incident took place, Albayrak reportedly said, "When I was the Energy Minister."
US special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey arrived in Turkey on Aug. 26 with an accompanying delegation to discuss the latest efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict. "We have exciting developments on the Syrian account," Jeffrey told reporters at the airport. "The military phase of this conflict needs to end. There is no more ground to be gained by the regime. The regime needs to return to the negotiating table and deal with the rest of the international community. That's our priority," he said.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Aug. 26 called for dialogue to ease tensions in the eastern Mediterranean. “Turkey and Greece have both been important NATO allies for many years. We need to find a way to resolve the situation in the eastern Mediterranean based on the spirit of allied solidarity,” Stoltenberg said.
U.S. President Donald Trump, in a phone call on Aug. 26 with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, expressed concern about tensions between Greece and Turkey and urged the two NATO allies to commit to a dialogue about their dispute over the eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. president also spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, discussing “regional developments and tensions in the region."
Turkey on Aug. 27 issued a new Navtex to carry out live-fire gunnery exercises in the eastern Mediterranean on Sept. 1 and 2. The Navtex issued at 9.30 a.m. comes as Greece, Cyprus, France and Italy conduct joint military exercises south of Cyprus amid heightened tensions between Turkey and Greece.
Four F-16s from the UAE have landed on the Greek island of Crete to take part in drills with the Hellenic Air Force, The Jerusalem Post reported. The UAE's move comes amid rising tension between Turkey and Greece over claims to hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
The U.S. State Department has updated its travel advisory for those traveling to Turkey, saying that level 3 caution (“reconsider travel”) is still valid due to the COVID-19. Only Turkey's southeastern provinces of Şırnak and Hakkari well as any area within 10 kilometres of the Syrian border fall under level 4 (“do not travel”), the U.S. State Department said.
Turkey has given passports to a dozen Hamas members in Istanbul, a senior Israeli diplomat said on Aug. 26. Charge d'affaires Roey Gilad said Israel had already told Turkey last year that Hamas was carrying out "terror-related activity" in Istanbul, but Turkey had not taken action.
Greece wants to extend its western territorial waters, Erdoğan says Turkey won’t compromise its rights at sea
Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis said on Aug. 26 that the country plans to extend the western limit of its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea to 12 miles, while President Erdoğan called on Ankara's counterparts to avoid mistakes that he said would bring their destruction. "If there is anyone who wants to pay its price, they are welcome to confront us. If not then they should go away so we can handle our own business," Erdoğan said.