MAJOR: EU to Expand Sanctions Against Turkey Over Illegal Drilling in Cyprus, Mediterranean

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BRUSSELS/ANKARA – The foreign ministers of 28 EU member states have instructed the Council of Europe to prepare new sanctions against Turkish businesses and individuals responsible for carrying out gas drilling off the coast of Cyprus, the EU foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell stated 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 [Nikos Christodoulides] briefed us on the issue. We have agreed to ask the respective bodies of the Council to finalize preparations for adding Turkish individuals and businesses responsible for illegal drilling to a blacklist and imposing sanctions against them,” Borrell said, according to Sputnik.

Last week, Turkey resumed illegal gas exploration and drilling off the coast of Cyprus, referring to imaginary “rights”, allegedly held by Turkish Cypriots to the maritime zone based on a license agreement reached in 2011 between Turkish Petroleum and the illegal “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.

The international community views the Turkish-invaded areas in the northern and partially eastern Cyprus as an unalienable part of the Republic of Cyprus under Turkish occupation while Ankara considers it a fully-fledged state. Turkey is the only country in the world recognizing the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.

Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974. Turkish invaders proceeded to take over parts of the island (about 36% of Cyprus’s total area). Over 200,000 Greek Cypriots were ethnically cleansed from their ancestral lands in which they have lived thousands of years before there was any mention of Turks.

Approximately 4000-6000 Greek Cypriots have been killed by the invading Turkish forces with over 1500 Greek Cypriot civilians still missing. The “Turkish Republic of Cyprus” unilaterally declared its independence on 15 November 1983 under the name of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.

This was rejected by the UN and all other relevant countries. Ever since, Turkey has been illegally expropriating Greek Cypriot property left in the occupied areas of Cyprus. Public housing was given to hundreds of thousands of illegal Turkish settlers who were brought in from various parts of Turkey.

This was done in order to change the ethnic and demographic disposition of the island in Turkish favor. At the same time, forced-out Greek Cypriots are barred from returning to their homes. All public property was confiscated, while Greek Cypriot churches were either demolished or turned into mosques.

Recent research revealed the existence of massive amounts of natural resources, primarily oil and natural gas, in the northern waters of Cyprus. In the meantime, Turkey seized the opportunity to illegally start drilling and extracting (i.e. stealing) Cypriot natural resources.

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