Brussels, July 16 - Neftegaz.RU. The EU is set to sanction Turkey over ‘illegal’ drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean offshore Cyprus. The EU will, among other sanctions, stop high-level dialogues with Turkey and will reduce pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020.
1st, Reuters last week reported it had seen documents showing that the EU was preparing to sanction Turkey for the deployment of two drillships in waters claimed by Cyprus.
Then, the confirmation of the reports came with the European Foreign Affairs Council issuing a statement where it said it “deplores that, despite the EU’s repeated calls to cease its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey continued its drilling operations west of Cyprus and launched a 2nd drilling operation northeast of Cyprus within Cypriot territorial waters.”
To remind, following the recent deployment of the Fatih drillship west of Cyprus, Turkish TPAO last week deployed the Yavuz drillship to the east of Cyprus, claiming its drilling operations are legitimate as its drillships have been deployed in areas granted to Turkey by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – a self-declared state on Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey.
The European Council said that in light of Turkey’s “continued and new illegal drilling activities, ” the council would suspend negotiations on the comprehensive air transport agreement, and won’t hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues for the time being.
The council also endorsed the EC’s proposal to reduce the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020, which according to Euronews, amounts to €145.8 million.
The European Foreign Affairs Council also invited the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, notably with regard to sovereign-backed lending.
“The Council remains seized of the matter and, in accordance with the European Council conclusions of 20 June, invites the High Representative and the Commission to continue work on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Council will closely monitor developments and will revert to this issue as appropriate,” the Council said.