Duvar English

The foreign ministers of 28 European Union member states have instructed the Council of Europe to prepare new sanctions against Turkish businesses and individuals responsible for carrying out gas drilling off Cyprus, the bloc’s foreign affairs commissioner Josep Borrell said after the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.

“We have agreed to ask the respective bodies of the Council to finalize preparations for adding Turkish individuals and businesses responsible for illegal drilling to a blacklist and imposing sanctions against them,” Borrell said.

Borrell noted that Greek Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides gave a briefing on the matter.

No further details were given, particularly regarding when the sanctions would be imposed.

Turkey on Jan. 19 condemned Borrell’s remarks.

“The EU, acting under the pretext of union solidarity, should first of all end its unrealistic, prejudiced and double standard policies,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

“The European Union has remained silent since 2003 to the usurpation and violation of the rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean. The EU has never mentioned or referred to the Turkish Cypriots in any of its statement on the subject and as such it ignored the existence and rights of the Turkish Cypriots,” Aksoy said, referring to the year before Greek Cypriot administration joined the EU.