The European Union has placed two Turkish individuals under restrictive measures due to their links to Turkey`s drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
`These persons are responsible for or involved in planning. directing and implementing offshore hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean which have not been authorized by the Republic of Cyprus.` the EU said in a statement.
The sanctions followed Turkey’s resumption gas exploration drilling off the divided island of Cyprus last week.
`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 statement said.
Turkey announced on Feb. 21 that the country`s Yavuz drillship would be deployed off Cyprus to conduct drilling activities sparking fury from the Greek Cypriot government. which accused Turkey of turning into a pirate state as it continues what Nicosia labels as illegal drilling efforts.
Cyprus and Greece dispute Turkey’s claims in the region. Turkey. the only nation to recognize the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. maintains that attempts by the internationally recognized government of Cyprus to conduct gas exploration are a violation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriot north of the divided island.
EU earlier sanctioned Turkey over what it called illegal drilling in the eastern Mediterranean. including a freeze to 146 million euros of pre-accession assistance for Turkey for next year. the suspension of negotiations for an aviation agreement. and a review of lending to Turkey from the European Investment Bank. worth 386 million euros last year.