The EU Foreign Ministers expressed their full solidarity to Greece and Cyprus against Turkey’s illegal drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, at the informal Foreign Affairs Council (Gymnich), as the Foreign Ministers are in the process of examining tough sanctions against Turkey.
During the press conference following the second and final day of the informal Council, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, whose country holds the rotating presidency, stressed that they are already drawing up a list of sanctions against Turkey in the event that Ankara does not halt its illegal activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
As Mr. Borrell stated, we had a very important discussion on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and we agreed that we must defend European interests, therefore Greek and Cypriot interests.
According to the head of the EU’s Foreign Policy, the sanctions that Turkey could face will be wide and may include restrictive measures on individuals in the event the country continued its illegal drilling, which would range from the registration of ships involved in illegal research and survey activities in Turkey, sanctions concerning their sales and supplies of material related to energy research, as well as “freezing” of lending by European banks to companies and industries in Turkey, as well as a travel ban on certain persons.
For his part, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said EU-Turkey relations have become very difficult due to the events in the Eastern Mediterranean and the main purpose is to have a constructive dialogue, stressing that Germany will continue its mediation efforts between all sides in the coming days and weeks.