Two senior officials of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), Mehmet Ferruh Akalin and Ali Coscun Namoglu, are on the EU sanctions list for Turkey illegally drilling within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.
The restrictive measures – that have riled Ankara – consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze. Moreover, EU citizens and entities are not allowed to make funds available to the blacklisted duo.
According to the EU Council decision, Akalin is Vice-President, member of the TPAO board and head of exploration.
He is responsible for planning, directing and implementing TPAO’s offshore hydrocarbon exploration activities.
“TPAO has also announced further planned drilling activities to be carried out, without the authorisation of the Republic of Cyprus” the Council decision states.
Namoglu is the deputy director of TPAO’s exploration department of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).
He is involved in planning, directing and implementing TPAO’s offshore hydrocarbon exploration activities. These include TPAO’s drilling activities which have not been authorised by Cyprus.
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 EU Council strongly condemned them.
Turkey has condemned the decision to impose sanctions on two senior TPAO members calling it an “example of biased and unlawful attitude under the pretext of union solidarity.”
The decision, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday, “has no value for us and it is null and void.”
“This unfair policy against Turkey’s and Turkish Cypriots’ legitimate rights contradicts both the international law and the EU acquis,” it said.
Turkey said the EU “cannot act as an international court. It cannot portray undelimited and disputed maritime jurisdiction areas as final maritime boundaries”.
“The EU should have rather supported dialogue and cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean,” it added.
Ankara said the sanctions will only “further strengthen our resolve” to continue its energy operations in the East Med.