Cyprus Mail

Turkey slams EU sanctions on TPAO officials

File photo: On board the Yavuz, which is operating in Cyprus' EZZ

The EU’s adoption of the sanctions list against Turkey which includes the names of two Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) officials is a new example of the bloc’s biased and unlawful attitude but is also null and void, the Turkish foreign ministry said on Friday.

In a written statement following the announcement on Thursday that two high-ranking officials from the Turkish Petroleum Corporation were on the list of persons subject to EU sanctions over Turkey’s illegal drilling activity in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Turkeys foreign ministry said  the sanction had no value for Ankara and was “null and void.”

According to the official journal of the EU, which published the decision on Thursday, Mehmet Ferruh Akalin, as the Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors of TPAO  and as the head of Exploration, R&D Centre and Information Technologies Departments, was responsible for planning, directing and implementing the company’s offshore hydrocarbon exploration activities including the company’s drilling activities which had not been authorised by the Republic of Cyprus.

Ali Coskun Namoglu, as the Deputy Director of the Exploration Department of TPAO was involved in planning, directing and implementing the company’s offshore hydrocarbon exploration activities, the decision said.

The restrictive measures consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze. Moreover, EU persons and entities are not allowed to make funds available to the two listed persons.

The Turkish foreign ministry said that the adoption of the sanction list by the EU against Turkey which includes the names of the two TPAO officials “is a new example of its biased and unlawful attitude under the pretext of union solidarity.”

It added that this “unfair policy” against Turkey’s and Turkish Cypriots’ legitimate rights contradicts both international law and the EU acquis.

“Whatever decision it takes, it is a futile effort for the EU to dictate the Greek-Greek Cypriot duo’s maximalist maritime boundary claims on Turkey,” it said, adding that the EU cannot act as an international court. “It cannot portray undelimited and disputed maritime jurisdiction areas as final maritime boundaries.”

The EU, it said, should have rather supported dialogue and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“The sanction decision will not affect Turkey’s determination to protect its own rights and that of Turkish Cypriots’ in the Eastern Mediterranean. On the contrary, it will further strengthen our resolve,” the Turkish ministry said.

A framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean was set up in November 2019 after the Council had repeatedly expressed its concerns and strongly condemned the drilling activities in various sets of conclusions, including European Council conclusions of 22 March 2018 and 20 June 2019.





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