EU agrees to sanctions on Turkey over Cyprus drilling

EU foreign ministers have agreed to economic sanctions on Turkish individuals, entities and companies involved in drilling off the coast of Cyprus. The announcement on Monday November 11th establishes the legal framework for travel bans and asset freezes; the actual names will be added later.

Turkey is seen by the EU, of which Cyprus is a member, as having violated the Cypriot maritime economic zone by drilling off the island. Turkey has said that it is operating in waters on its own continental shelf, or in areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights. While Turkey recognizes the northern part of Cyprus carved out as a result of the 1974 war, virtually other country does.

The staggered approach by the EU is seen as giving Turkey a chance to end the drilling activities before any measures are brought into force.

If sanctions were to be imposed, they would probably target the Turkish military and captains of the drilling ships, two EU diplomats told Reuters.