17:57 GMT27 July 2021
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    This comes after Turkey resumed gas exploration drilling in the Mediterranean Sea off Cyprus last week amid conflicting claims between Ankara and Cyprus over the extent of their maritime economic zones.

    The foreign ministers of 28 EU members 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 EU foreign affairs commissioner Josep Borrell said after the EU's Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.

    "We've also discussed the situation over Turkey's gas drilling in the Mediterranean, and Cypriot [Foreign] Minister briefed us on the issue. We have agreed to ask the respective bodies of the Council to finalise preparations for adding Turkish individuals and businesses responsible for illegal drilling to a blacklist and imposing sanctions against them," Borrell said. 

    Last week, Turkey resumed gas exploration drilling off Cyprus, referring to rights allegedly held by Turkish Cypriots to the maritime zone based on a license agreement reached in 2011 between Turkish Petroleum and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The international community views it as part of the Republic of Cyprus under Turkish occupation while Ankara considers it a fully-fledged state. 

    offshore drilling, Cyprus, European Union, Turkey
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