11:52 GMT25 January 2021
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    Earlier, Brussels imposed individual sanctions for illegal drilling in the territorial waters of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean. In November, the EU extended these sanctions for a year, until 12 November 2021.

    The European Union summit agreed on the introduction of sanctions against Turkey, Agence France-Presse reports, citing diplomatic sources.

    The EU intends to coordinate with the United States' actions and decisions on Turkey, it said in a statement following the summit. In addition, the EU leaders tasked their EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell with preparing an international conference on the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    On the eve of the summit, the head of the European Council Charles Michel underlined the absence of positive dynamics in Turkey's actions in the Eastern Mediterranean. He stressed that the EU wants more stable and predictable relations with Turkey, but is ready to use the tools at its disposal if it does not see positive changes.

    On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that he won’t accept any plans or maps that aim to limit the country to the coasts off southern Antalya.

    "The European Union should get rid of its strategic blindness and not let itself be manipulated by either the Greek Cypriots or Greece itself in the Eastern Mediterranean," said Erdogan in a video message for the Eastern Mediterranean Workshop.

    Turkey has been engaged in a long-standing maritime border dispute with Greece and Cyprus over the size of their exclusive economic zones in the Eastern Mediterranean. Athens and Nicosia have voiced their strong objection to the presence of Turkish exploration vessels in waters that both Greece and Cyprus claim to be part of their respective exclusive economic zones. The scramble for exclusive rights to the area is exacerbated by the presence of considerable gas deposits in the region.

    The European Union imposed sanctions on Turkey in July 2019 for drilling in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Cyprus. In addition, the EU also introduced financial restrictive measures against Ankara, reducing the amount of assistance to Turkey for 2020, and also invited the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in this country, in particular with regard to lending against sovereign collateral. At the moment, the sanctions list includes two citizens.

    Tags:
    Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, sanctions, European Union
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