European Council extends Ankara sanctions as Turkish F-16 jet flies over Samos island

Turkey continued to challenge Greece’s sovereignty in the eastern Aegean on Friday as a Turkish F-16 flew over the island of Samos, while the Oruç Reis seismic survey vessel continued its activities in an area south of the island of Kastellorizo and east of Rhodes.

At the same time, however, the European Union maintained its pressure on Ankara regarding the research activities of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) in Cyprus’ continental shelf. In particular, the European Council decided to extend the sanctions against persons or entities involved in Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’ continental shelf until Nov. 12, 2021.

According to the announcement of the European Council, the EU will maintain its ability to impose targeted restrictive measures on persons or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorized hydrocarbon drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean. The sanctions consist of a travel ban in the EU and freezing the assets of individuals and entities.

Moreover, it is prohibited for EU individuals and entities to allocate funds to those on the sanction list. Currently, these sanctions have been imposed on two people. The sanctions framework was first introduced in October last year, following a decision by the European Council.

Meanwhile on Friday, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou was briefed on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and the role of the armed forces by the chief of Hellenic National Defence General Staff (GEETHA), Konstantinos Floros.

Earlier, Floros participated in a session of the EU Military Committee, briefing his counterparts and High Representative Josep Borrell on the situation in the eastern Mediterranean.

(A version of this article was originally published by Kathimerini and reproduced with permission.)