EU unveils sanctions plan to hit Turkey

They would involve travel bans and asset freezes on people and “entities” involved in Cyprus drilling

Photo: Twitter The Yavuz drillship heading for block 7 last month

The European Union has unveiled a system for imposing sanctions on Turkey over its unauthorized gas drilling in Mediterranean waters off Cyprus, setting up the legal framework for travel bans and asset freezes but leaving names until a later date.

The mechanism was adopted by EU foreign ministers Monday making it possible “to sanction individuals or entities responsible for, or involved in, unauthorized drilling activities of hydrocarbons.” Now, EU Member States can come forward with names of those they think should be listed, with Turkish military and captains of the drilling ships most likely to be icluded in the blacklist.

The sanctions would then involve travel bans and asset freezes on people and “entities” like companies or organisations. In addition, EU citizens and firms would be banned from providing them funds.

The decision, reflecting a broader deterioration in EU ties with Turkey, aims to punish Ankara for violating Cyprus’ maritime economic zone by drilling off the divided island. It follows a separate decision to stop new arms sales by EU governments to Turkey over Ankara’s 9 October incursion into Syria.

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