EU to toughen sanctions on Turkish drilling, draft summit statement says

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The European Union will impose sanctions on more Turkish individuals and companies responsible for drilling in contested waters in the Mediterranean, according to a draft statement prepared for EU leaders to agree to at a summit on Thursday.

If agreed, the EU will “prepare additional listings” on the basis of a sanctions list already in place since 2019 and “if need be work on the extension” of its scope, the draft statement, as seen by Reuters, says.

Negotiations over the two-page statement are still ongoing and Greece and Cyprus, which accuse Turkey of drilling for hydrocarbons off its continental shelf, believe the sanctions do not go far enough, according to diplomats briefed on internal discussions.

READ MORE: The European Parliament votes in favor of sanctions against Turkey.

Tensions between Turkey and Greece escalated over the summer after Turkey sent Oruc Reis, escorted by navy frigates, into disputed waters.

This news comes in the face of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, brushing off possible European Union sanctions against Turkey on Wednesday, saying they would not affect his country.

Speaking to reporters before departing for a visit to Azerbaijan, Erdogan also accused the EU of acting “dishonestly” toward Turkey and of failing to keep its promises.

“Any decision to impose sanctions against Turkey won’t be of great concern to Turkey,” Erdogan told reporters.

READ MORE: Turkey rejects European Parliament call for sanctions.

Tensions between NATO allies Turkey and Greece escalated over the summer with a military build-up after Turkey sent Oruc Reis, escorted by navy frigates, into disputed waters.

The move prompted Greece to also send its warships and both countries conducted military exercises to assert their claims.

Turkey says it is standing up for its energy rights, as well as those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots, while Athens and Nicosia call Turkey’s actions an illegal incursion into areas where they have exclusive offshore exploitation rights.

READ MORE: EU threaten Turkey with sanctions if ships don’t withdraw from Greek waters.

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