EU to Sanction Turkey over Offshore Cyprus Drilling
The European Union has agreed to implement political and financial sanctions against Turkey over Ankara’s continued marine drilling operations off the coast of Cyprus. The most serious measure is reportedly a cut of 145.8 million euros ($164 million) in European funds allocated to Turkey for 2020. The EU is also expected to curb its dialogue with Ankara. In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday contended that the measures “will not affect in the slightest our country’s determination to continue hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.” The EU last month warned Turkey it could face sanctions if it did not cease what Brussels deemed to be “illegal” activities in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone. Tensions between Cyprus and Turkey have flared since Ankara sent the ‘Fatih’ ship to start drilling off western Cyprus in May. A second drilling ship, the Yavuz, arrived off the northeastern coast last week. The disagreement is rooted in overlapping claims to the waters by both the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey. Ankara claimed sovereignty over northern Cyprus in 1983, a move that was not recognized by any country.