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EU Imposes Sanctions on Turkey over Illegal Drilling in Mediterranean

Sat 07 Nov 2020 | 12:39 AM
Taarek Refaat

The European Union (EU) Council extended one year period to its framework for sanctions that will be imposed on Turkish gas exploration corporations in the disputed waters in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The EU council has so far applied sanctions in February when it placed two senior officials of the state-owned Turkish Corporation "TPAO" under restrictive measures regarding unauthorized exploration off the coast of Cyprus.

"The EU will maintain its ability to impose targeted restrictive measures on persons or entities responsible or involved in unauthorized drilling activities for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean," the statement said.

Sanctions will include travel bans, assets freeze, as well as prohibiting any kind of funds for those listed.

The two officials who will be subject to sanctions in February are TPAO exploration head Mehmet Akalin and Deputy Exploration Director Ali Coskun Namoglu.

TPAO has drilled a number of wells off the coast of Cyprus since August of last year, and Turkey had previously warned that it would increase its presence in the eastern Mediterranean if the EU imposed sanctions.

The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned last month that the union's relations with Turkey had reached a "turning point" as Ankara continued its exploration work in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said earlier that all seven gas wells that Turkey has drilled so far in the eastern Mediterranean have proven uneconomic.