The European Council to Impose Sanctions over Turkish Drilling Operations near Cyprus
EU foreign ministers agreed on economic sanctions over Turkish drilling operations near Cyprus, Reuters reported. However, the indication of specific names is left to a later stage.
The decision, reflecting the wider deterioration of EU ties with Turkey, aims to punish Ankara for for violating Cyprus’ maritime economic zone by drilling off the divided island. It follows a separate decision to stop new arms sales by EU governments to Turkey over Ankara’s Oct. 9 incursion into Syria.
Turkey, which is officially a candidate for EU membership, says it operates in waters off its own continental shelf or areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights.
Today, the Council adopted a framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey's unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. The framework will make it possible to sanction individuals or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The sanctions will consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities will be forbidden from making funds available to those listed, The European Council said in a press release.
Two EU diplomats said the staged approach gives Turkey a chance to end the “illegal" drilling activities before any measures come into force. If the sanctions are imposed, the Turkish military and captains of vessels engaged in the activities are likely to be affected, diplomats said.
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