EU signals sanctions on Turkey over Cyprus drilling

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The European Union will put on hold high-level talks with Ankara and negotiations on an air transport agreement, as well as freezing funding for Turkey next year, over “illegal” drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

The joint EU decision, which may still be changed, is to be discussed among national envoys in Brussels on Thursday with the aim of adopting it when the bloc’s foreign ministers meet on Monday.

Ankara on Wednesday rejected Greek and EU criticism that Turkish drilling off Cyprus was illegitimate. On the divided island, an internationally recognised government is part of the EU but Turkey backs a breakaway area.

While Nicosia was pushing for tougher language on sanctions, some other EU states were wary of shutting down all high-level channels of communication with Ankara, diplomats said.

 

Via Cyprus Daily/Reuters

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