EU High Representative Josep Borrell has said that the European Union won't deploy troops to Nagorno-Karabakh, as he responded to criticism from MEPs on the bloc being passive regarding the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"The EU won't deploy troops on the ground. We won't do what Turkey did," Borrell said in a speech during the European Parliament plenary session on Dec. 15, adding that the bloc seeks a solution to the conflict through diplomacy and cooperation and not military intervention.
"You said Turkey carried out a military intervention. Do you really want us to do the same? You're asking us to do something more decisive, energetic, stronger and tougher. What am I supposed to say? We're not going to carry out a military intervention," he said.
During his speech, Borrell also told MEPs that they should give up demanding troop deployment.
"We're doing what we can. We are working on the basis of cooperation, support and diplomacy. We're working with civil society and using our financial resources. It's possible that we adopt measures using the instruments that we have in the economic and commercial fields," he said.
In response to MEPs' criticism on the EU having failed to prevent the clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Borrell said, "What could have we done to prevent that?"
"We can use diplomacy and our financial resources. We don't have any other options. Please just realize that," he said.
Erdoğan, EU's Michel discuss EU summit
Separately, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told European Council President Charles Michel in a call that Turkey wants to build its future with the EU, calling for Ankara and the bloc to move on from a "vicious cycle" in ties, the Turkish presidency said late on Dec. 15.
At a summit on Dec. 11, EU leaders agreed to prepare limited sanctions on Turkish individuals over a row with members Greece and Cyprus over hydrocarbon exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, but postponed discussions on any harsher steps until March.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the summit that EU leaders planned to discuss weapons exports to Turkey with NATO allies following a Greek push for an arms embargo on Ankara.
The Turkish presidency said that Erdoğan urged Michel to take a more constructive approach toward Turkey.
"During the call, President Erdoğan stated that Turkey aimed to build its future with the EU, and that they considered every positive step in Turkey-EU ties as a window of opportunity," the presidency said.
Erdoğan also reiterated that Turkey was ready to launch bilateral talks with Greece on their maritime claims, but accused Athens of "running from talks." He repeated a call for a regional east Mediterranean conference.
Turkey sent a seismic exploration vessel into waters also claimed by Greece in August, stoking tensions. The EU, led by Germany, has sought without success to resolve the dispute. Turkey has repeatedly accused the bloc of being biased.