EU signals sanctions on Turkey over Cyprus drilling: draft

The draft statement stated that the EU is ready to add harsher measures against Turkey if they continue with their drilling activities. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 July 2019
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EU signals sanctions on Turkey over Cyprus drilling: draft

  • The decisions will be adopted after foreign ministers meeting on Monday
  • The Council also supported the Commission’s proposal to decrease the pre-accession assistance for Turkey

BRUSSELS: The European Union will put on hold high-level talks with Ankara and negotiations on an air transport agreement, as well as freeze funding for Turkey next year, over “illegal” drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.
The joint EU decision, which may still be changed, will be discussed among national envoys in Brussels on Thursday with the aim of adopting it when the bloc’s foreign ministers meet on Monday.
“In light of Turkey’s continued and new illegal drilling activities, the (EU) decides to suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agrees not to hold further meetings of the high-level dialogues for the time being,” the draft said.
“The Council endorses the (European) Commission’s proposal to reduce the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 and invites the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, notably with regard to sovereign-backed lending,” it said.
It added that the EU would be ready to introduce more restrictive measures against Turkey should it continue with the drilling.


Turkish steps up drilling activities around Cyprus

Updated 1 min 41 sec ago
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Turkish steps up drilling activities around Cyprus

  • The EU says Turkey is drilling in waters exclusive to EU member Cyprus and is therefore a breach of international law

NICOSIA: Turkey’s vice president says his country is stepping up a search for hydrocarbons off ethnically divided Cyprus with the dispatching of a survey vessel to join two drillships and another research craft operating in waters around the east Mediterranean island nation.
Fuat Oktay says Turkey will “never submit” to sanctions imposed by the European Union over its drilling and won’t hesitate to take additional steps in defense of its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area’s energy reserves.
The EU says Turkey is drilling in waters exclusive to EU member Cyprus and is therefore a breach of international law.
Oktay was speaking at celebrations marking the 45th anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus that followed a coup mounted by supporters of union with Greece.