EU Signals Sanctions on Ankara over Drilling Off Cyprus

Cheryl Sanders
July 13, 2019

Turkish Cypriot reports said water bottles were thrown at the bus and damage was done to its side-mirrors by angry Greek Cypriots but who they were was not immediately confirmed.

The European Union said in a statement on Monday that a second attempt by Turkey to drill for oil and gas was an "unacceptable escalation", having already warned Ankara to stop its "illegal" activities or face sanctions. The ship dropped anchor off the island's north-eastern Karpas peninsula on Monday.

Cyprus has waged a far-reaching diplomatic campaign, accusing Turkey of breaching the republic's sovereignty by encroaching on its exclusive economic zone in its efforts to stake a claim to the resources.

Athens and Southern Cyprus have opposed the move, threatening to arrest the ships' crews and enlisting European Union leaders to join their criticism.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus's annexation by Greece, Ankara intervened as a guarantor power.

Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Ersin Tatar made the announcement to the reporters following a meeting with President Mustafa Akıncı on July 11, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said, citing Turkish Agency Cyprus (TAK). "We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint and refrain from actions that increase tensions in the region".

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.

The EU is reluctant to be too hard on Erdogan, needing Turkey - which has been trying fruitlessly to join the bloc for 14 years - for security cooperation and to keep him from flooding Greek islands with more refugees and migrants.

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