The final decision on restrictive measures lies with the European Council

The foreign ministers of the European Union will evaluate whether impose sanctions against Turkey could be imposed by the European Council later this week. The Council in October had called on Turkey to stop exploring gas fields in disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean or face consequences.

In late November, Ankara returned a seismic exploration vessel to port, but EU officials and diplomats said broader issues, including over Libya, Syria, Russia and over authoritarianism in Turkey, have hardened EU positions. “I’m not aware of any EU government challenging the view that the situation is worse than October and that leaders should consider the consequences,” said a senior EU official, according to the Reuters news agency.

The European Union says Turkish drill and survey ships have continued to work in waters contested by Greece and Cyprus, which Greece says makes formal talks with Turkey over maritime claims impossible. European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs EU summits, called on Turkey last week to stop playing a “cat-and-mouse” game by offering concessions only to reverse them.

Germany, current holder of the EU’s six-month presidency, holds the key to whether sanctions go ahead. It had hoped to mediate between Athens and Ankara, but was angered when Turkey resumed exploration for gas off Cyprus in October after a pause. The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution which said it was necessary to impose sanctions on Turkey.