Turkey sanctioned for drilling off Cyprus

The European Council has imposed sanctions against Turkey after Turkish Petroleum AO began drilling a second well in disputed waters offshore Cyprus.

The European Council has imposed sanctions against Turkey after Turkish Petroleum AO began drilling a second well in disputed waters offshore Cyprus.

The EC, along with the US State Department, in June condemned the start of drilling of the Finike-1 well off western Cyprus by Turkey’s first drillship, the Fatih (OGJ Online, June 20, 2019).

It issued sanctions after the second drillship, the Yavuz, prepared to drill the Karpaz-1 well off eastern Cyprus.

Both wells are in the exclusive economic zone of the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus.

The Turkish government disputes Cypriot claims to the areas and says the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only it recognizes, should participate in oil and gas development off the divided island nation.

Calling TPAO’s drilling “illegal,” the EC suspended negotiations of an air-transport agreement, urged the European Investment Bank to “review its lending activities in Turkey,” and endorsed a European Commission proposal to cut financial assistance to Turkey next year.

It also urged European officials “to continue work on options for targeted measures in light of Turkey’s continued drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the sanctions would not affect the disputed oil and gas work, calling the European Union “prejudiced and biased” about Cyprus.

“Our hydrocarbon activities in the Eastern Mediterranean have two dimensions: the protection of our rights on our continental shelf and the protection of the equal rights of the Turkish Cypriots, who are co-owners of the island, over the hydrocarbon resources of the island,” it said.

Fatih Donmez, Turkey’s minister of energy and natural resources, said in a Twitter post that a seismic vessel would be moved from the Black Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean to join another seismic ship working there.

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