Published: Sat, July 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

EU Signals Sanctions on Ankara over Drilling Off Cyprus

EU Signals Sanctions on Ankara over Drilling Off Cyprus

According to sources, no states objected to the measures set out in the statement.

In Athens, Ankara and Nicosia, diplomats fear the showdown could trigger military confrontation, and worry Erdoğan may be looking for a showdown to divert attention from domestic troubles.

"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.

Since this spring Ankara has sent two drill ships - Fatih and Yavuz - to the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting the right of Turkey and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to the resources of the region. The EU has said Ankara under President Tayyip Erdogan is moving further away from the bloc. "Don't expect any wide economic sanctions".

"The drilling activities of our ship Yavuz are based on legal and legitimate grounds", the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that "We reject the statement made by Greek Foreign Ministry and European Union officials that deem our country's activities illegal".

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Tatar also said that, apart from that topic, they also talked about the issue of migrants and the attacks undertaken in the Greek Cypriot side against Turkish firms' buses, with the most recent one happening last week.

While Cyprus wants a tougher line on Turkey, it as failed to have arrested the crew of a Turkish ship drilling in the EEZ, parts of which Turkey doesn't recognize, after issuing an worldwide warrant.

European Union leaders have squarely sided with Cyprus within the dispute, declaring final month that they're prepared to think about sanctions if Turkey continues drilling.

Cyprus's government said the discussed sanctions are too vague and too general, said Kathimerini, because they don't a clear reference to restrictive measures that the European Council said it would propose in June, including blacklisting people or companies involved with the Turkish drilling.

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