EU May Crack Down on Turkey for Drilling in Mediterranean

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EU May Crack Down on Turkey for Drilling in Mediterranean


(Bloomberg) -- The European Union will examine retaliatory measures against Turkey over its drilling activities in the southeastern Mediterranean, in a move that risks pushing relations between Ankara and Brussels to a new low.

At a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday, EU ministers invited the bloc’s executive and foreign policy arms “to submit options for appropriate measures without delay,” according to a joint communique by the bloc’s 28 governments. The move could pave the way for targeted sanctions against companies and individuals involved in the drilling activities.

Governments also reiterated that talks on upgrading an EU-Turkey customs deal and on the Turkish accession to the bloc are frozen, according to the decision. Drilling off the coast of Cyprus will have “serious immediate negative impact that such illegal actions have across the range of EU-Turkey relations,” the ministers said.

Turkey and Cyprus are at loggerheads over offshore gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, as Ankara disputes Nicosia’s claims that the area is its exclusive economic zone. Turkey has sent exploration vessels into the area, with Cyprus protesting the move as a violation of its sovereignty and threatening to issue arrest warrants against those involved.

The dispute adds to a series of disagreements between Western governments and Turkey in areas ranging from democratic standards to Ankara’s decision to purchase Russian defense missiles, which could allegedly compromise NATO systems. In Tuesday’s decision, EU governments said that “Turkey continues to move further away from the European Union.”

Cypriot foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides said he expects the communique to be translated into economic and diplomatic sanction proposals. “We are now waiting verbal solidarity to turn into concrete decisions,” Christodoulides told Bloomberg.


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The EU, like the UN, has become a toothless entity without the backbone to seriously 'punish' anyone for anything. I am sure that Turkey is 'quaking in their boots'.

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