Jul 13 2019

Planned EU measures on Turkey fall short of Nicosia’s expectations - Kathimerini

Cyprus government is not satisfied with a statement of the European Union approved on Friday which calls for sanctions against Ankara over Turkey’s gas drilling activities off Cyprus, Greek daily Kathimerini reported on Friday.

Envoys of European Union member-states discussed this week the measures to be taken against Turkey amid heightened tensions in Eastern Mediterranean over potentially rich hydrocarbon reserves. 

The drafted EU statement is expected to be submitted at a meeting of EU member states’ foreign ministers on Monday.

Reuters on Thursday provided details of the EU’s planned measures against Turkey, including cutting funding, limiting European Investment Bank lending, suspension of ongoing negations over an aviation agreement, as well as sanctions.

But the close relations between the EU and Turkey, notably the refugee agreement, almost eliminate the possibility of broader economic sanctions targeting the latter, an EU diplomat told Reuters.

The planned EU measures “ do not, reportedly, go far enough for Nicosia, which wants tougher measures,” Kathimerini said. 

Citing sources, the Greek daily said none of the member states had objected to the measures set out in the statement. According to Kathimerini, a high-ranking EU official remarked that Turkey's drilling activities are "illegal, and we want them to stop them.”

Turkey’s second drillship Yavuz arrived off the east coast of Cyprus on Monday and is set to drill until September 30 with the help of three supporting vessels of the Turkish navy. It followed the first Turkish ship, the Fatih, which was dispatched in May and has been anchored west of Cyprus since last month. 

Nicosia and Athens disagree with Ankara’s claims of drilling rights in the region. Turkey, the only country to recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, maintains that attempts by Cyprus to conduct gas exploration are a violation of the rights of the Turkish part of the divided island. 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry in a written statement on Wednesday described Greece as Europe’s spoiled child and Cyprus as its hellion, accusing the duo of destabilising the Eastern Mediterranean for years.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Friday that Turkey would retaliate and expand its activities in Cyprus if EU imposed sanctions over gas drilling dispute. 

http://www.ekathimerini.com/242511/article/ekathimerini/news/eu-nations-approve-sanctions-against-turkey-over-cyprus-drilling