EU measures against Turkey, expected to be submitted by the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to the European Council for Ankara’s drilling plans in the exclusive economic zone and the territorial sea of the Republic of Cyprus, fall within the range of government expectations, a government source told CNA.
Asked to comment on reports regarding the measures which are being proposed at EU level, ahead of the External Affairs Council and the General Affairs Council, on July 15 and 18, respectively, the same source said that “we move methodically and our aim is to announce and employ measures the soonest possible” adding at the same time that there is no timeframe for this.
On another question regarding funding cuts which, according to reports, the EU is expected to impose on Turkey, the government source said that “there is not much left for Turkey from pre-accession funds.” Cuts will affect those funds, sending thus a message to Ankara, it was added.
The source further said that measures are not expected to put in danger the EU-Turkey migrant deal of 2016, which allows Turkey to receive funds from the EU facility for refugees.
The gradual imposition of measures is also seen in a positive light, as Nicosia believes that the scheme provides leverage for greater sanctions in the future, in light of Turkey’s escalation in Cyprus’ EEZ. In this regard, the EU is expected to propose targeted measures against companies and individuals at a later stage, the source concluded.
A diplomatic source also confirmed that EU measures under discussion involve enlargement fund cuts worth 145.8 million euro and a reassessment of the European Investment Bank`s funding activities in Turkey, as well as the suspension of ministerial and high-level meetings.
Turkey issued in May a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. Since May 4, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih” is anchored in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.
A second Turkish drill ship, “Yavuz”, arrived off the island’s northeastern coast on Monday. The EU High Representative Federica Mogherini issued subsequently a statement, warning Turkey over its intended new drilling operation at the northeast of Cyprus. She recalled that Turkey`s continued actions have a serious negative impact across the range of EU-Turkey relations and that “as mandated by the European Council, the Commission and the EEAS are about to present options to the Council for appropriate measures.”
(Cyprus News Agency)