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EU extends targeted measures on entities working with Turkey on illegal drilling

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The EU Council on Friday adopted a decision extending for one year the existing framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey’s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Council announced it was extending the framework until November 12, 2021.

“The European Union will therefore maintain its ability to impose targeted restrictive measures on persons or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean.”

Currently two individuals are subject to sanctions who are responsible for or involved in planning, directing and implementing offshore hydrocarbon exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean which have not been authorised by the Republic of Cyprus.

The sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

The EU leaders are expected to discuss next month relations with Turkey and its conduct in the eastern Mediterranean and the possibility of further measures.

Following illegal drilling activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and seismic surveys off Greece, the EU but also member states have warned Ankara to change its tactics and that they would closely monitor developments and take decisions at the European Council’s December meeting.

To entice Ankara, the European Council had agreed last month to launch a positive political EU-Turkey agenda with a specific emphasis on the modernisation of the Customs Union and trade facilitation, people  to people contacts, high-level dialogues, continued cooperation on migration issues, in line with the 2016 EU-Turkey Statement. This however would be implemented provided Turkey made constructive efforts to stop illegal activities that affect Greece and Cyprus.

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