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EU extends Turkey drilling sanctions

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The European Council has agreed to extend the regime of sanctions against Ankara in response to Turkey’s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

EU sanctions will be extended for a further year, until 12 November 2023.

“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,” a Council statement said.

It said the decision was taken following the review of the framework of restrictive measures in response to the country’s activities.

The sanctions include a travel ban to the EU, an asset freeze for individuals, and an asset freeze for entities.

In addition, EU persons or entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

Currently, two individuals are subject to sanctions under this regime, said an announcement by the Council.

The sanctions regime against unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Med is a direct follow-up to the Council conclusions of 14 October 2019, which were endorsed by the European Council on 17-18 October 2019.

In these conclusions, the EU reaffirmed its full solidarity with Cyprus regarding respect for its sovereignty and sovereign rights under international law.

The decision is constantly reviewed and renewed or amended as appropriate if the Council deems its objectives have not been met.

Two individuals – Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) Board Member and Deputy General Manager Mehmet Ferruh Akalın and TPAO Exploration Department Deputy Director Ali Coşkun Namoğlu – are subject to sanctions as they are responsible for “planning, managing and implementing hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Ankara has sent several drillships to Cyprus and Greek waters, claiming it has a continental shelf to explore for energy resources.