EU takes steps against Turkey over Cyprus

EU takes steps against Turkey over Cyprus

European Union member states agreed Friday on the sanctions that the EU should impose on Turkey for its illegal drilling activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

After consultations with the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and the Presidency of the Council, the Cypriot delegation succeeded in changing the wording of the final statement on Turkey, with the addition of a reference to targeted measures against Ankara.

Up until Thursday, the draft conclusions said that the European Council calls on the European Commission and the high representative to continue working on possible restrictive measures against Turkey if it continues its illegal drilling activities – leaving open whether, and to what extent, such measures would be imposed.

The final wording of the modified text says, instead, that the council would explore options if Turkey continues its activities – thus removing any uncertainties created by the previous wording.

The EU28 also decided on the suspension of negotiations with Turkey on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement, the limitation of pre-accession assistance for 2020, and the ending of funding by the European Investment Bank.

The sanctions will be discussed by the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday before they get their final approval.

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu struck a defiant tone Friday, saying that EU pressure is futile.

“The steps that it [EU] would take towards us would be useless, it would backlash,” he said Friay in translated comments by the Anadolu state agency. He added the EU should not “stand behind the wrong” and warned that Turkey would take “additional steps” in case of any move against it.

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