CYPRUS: EU diplomats back ‘appropriate measures’ against Turkey

European Union foreign ministers urged Brussels to immediately adopt “appropriate measures” against Turkey for drilling for gas in Cyprus waters.

The General Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg meeting expressed “grave concern over the ongoing illegal drilling” and chided Turkey for ignoring EU appeals to end such actions and follow international law.

The EU’s top diplomats called on the bloc’s executive arm to submit possible sanctions, including cuts to pre-accession financial aid that Turkey as a membership candidate currently receives. It’s the first time the EU is mulling such moves against Turkey.

Ministers underlined “the immediate and serious consequences Turkey’s illegal actions are having on the entire fabric of Turkish-EU relations.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades welcomed the statement as a positive development that he hopes will be mirrored in the decisions EU leaders make at a summit in Brussels.

Nicosia says activity by a Turkish drillship 64 kilometers off its western coastline is a flagrant violation of international law and its sovereign rights.

Turkey, which doesn’t recognize Cyprus, says it’s acting to protect its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots and insists the area where it’s now drilling falls inside its own continental shelf.

Ankara has warned it will send a second ship to begin drilling off Cyprus later this week.

Source: The Financial Mirror