EU threatens more sanctions against Turkey if it continues illegal drilling in Cypriot waters

Turkish Yavuz drillship

Turkish Yavuz drillship

European Union spokesman Peter Stano has said that the European Union will respond with more sanctions against Turkey if it continues illegal energy drilling in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone (EEZ), according to the Cyprus News Agency.

“There has been a break, but there has been no change in the EU`s position on illegal Turkish actions in the eastern Mediterranean, so the EU`s position is clear, unchanging,” Stano told CNA.

“We have reiterated many times that we express our concern and the strong condemnation of the continuing Turkish activity associated with illegal drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, we stand strong together with Cyprus,” he added.

The European Union already has targeted sanctions on Turkey for it illegal attempts to extract energy from Cyprus' EEZ, but this has not deterred further attempts.

“This is something that the Member States are closely monitoring, and indeed, if the illegal activities continue, the EU will continue to act as it has been described," the spokesman said.

On Wednesday, Turkey issued its intentions to illegally drill for energy in Cypriot waters with the Yavuz drillship from April 20 to July 18.

Cyprus government spokesman, Kyriakos Koushos said Turkey’s policy is worsening an already tense situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially as the world is trying to fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Cyprus News Agency.

“Turkey continues to follow a policy that ignores even the pandemic and does not respect the difficulties which countries are facing,” he said, adding “We condemn Turkey’s actions and we continue in a consistent manner to implement our policy which is based on the international law and the sovereign.”

“Turkey has been implementing gunboat diplomacy, and acting as the pirate of the Eastern Mediterranean, breaching and violating the international law and interfering with the sovereign rights of third countries, including Cyprus," he concluded.