The European Council adopted a framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey's drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, calling them 'unauthorized,' the Council announced Monday.
"The framework will make it possible to sanction individuals or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorized drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean," the statement read.
Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with two drilling vessels, Fatih and Yavuz, along with Oruc Reis and Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa seismic vessels in the same region.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
The sanctions will consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities, the Council said, adding that EU persons and entities will be forbidden from making funds available to those listed.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.
By Ebru Sengul