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EU warns Turkey of sanctions over Mediterranean drilling

July 12, 2019 at 11:05 am

A frigate takes part in ‘Blue Homeland 2019’ naval drill in Antalya, Turkey on February 27, 2019. [Mustafa Çiftçi – Anadolu Agency]

The European Union yesterday warned Turkey that it would impose sanctions on it if it continued to drill for gas off the coast of Cyprus in the Mediterranean.

“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 Union said in a statement.

Ankara on Wednesday rejected Greek and European Union assertions that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off the coast of Cyprus was “illegitimate”, and said this showed the EU could not be an impartial mediator on the Cyprus issue.

The second Turkish drillship, Yavuz, dropped anchor on Monday to the south of Cyprus’ Karpasia peninsula while the first drillship, Fatih, began offshore drilling operations in May in an area approximately 75 kilometres off Cyprus’s western coast.

READ: Turkey to establish naval and air bases in Northern Cyprus