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EU sets up sanctions against Turkey for Cyprus oil drilling

EU sets up sanctions against Turkey for Cyprus oil drilling

Image by MuratSoyluoglu

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Council adopted a framework for restrictive measures Monday in response to unauthorised drilling by Turkey of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, enabling sanctions on individuals or entities.

The framework will make it possible to sanction individuals or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The sanctions will consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities will be forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

The framework for restrictive measures makes it possible to place under sanctions:

  • persons or entities responsible for drilling activities related to hydrocarbon exploration and production not authorised by Cyprus within its territorial sea, exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or continental shelf. Such drilling activities include, where the EEZ or continental shelf has not been delimited in accordance with international law, activities which may jeopardize or hamper the reaching of such a delimitation agreement;
  • persons or entities providing financial, technical or material support for the above mentioned drilling activities;
  • persons or entities associated with them.

The decision is a direct follow-up to Council conclusions of 14 October 2019, endorsed by the European Council on 17-18 October 2019, when the EU reaffirmed 'its full solidarity' with Cyprus, regarding the respect of its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law and invited the Commission and the European External Action Service to submit proposals for a framework for restrictive measures.

In July, the Council said it deplored the fact that, despite the European Union's repeated calls to cease its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey has continued its drilling operations within Cypriot territorial waters. The Council reiterated the serious immediate negative impact that such illegal actions have across the range of EU-Turkey relations. The Council called again on Turkey to refrain from such actions, act in a spirit of good neighbourliness and respect the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Cyprus in accordance with international law.

Council decision concerning restrictive measures in view of Turkey's unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean

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