BRUSSELS: European Union officials on Monday agreed political and financial sanctions against Turkey after Ankara went ahead with drilling operations off Cyprus despite repeated warnings, European diplomats said.
“The conclusions on Turkey have been adopted and they will be made public in the coming hours,” the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after a meeting with members states’ foreign ministers.
The most serious measure is understood to be a cut of 145.8 million euros ($164 million) in the European funds allocated to Turkey for 2020.
The European Investment Bank has been asked to revisit the conditions set out for providing financial support to Ankara, according to several European sources.
The EU is also expected to downgrade its dialogue with Turkey, without cutting it off completely.
And one senior European diplomat added: “It has not be ruled out that targeted sanctions be adopted at some time or other.”
The EU last month warned Turkey it could face sanctions if it did not cease what the bloc called “illegal” drilling in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone.
Last week, diplomats began discussing what measures to impose.
It was the discovery of huge gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean that sparked the dispute between EU member Cyprus and Turkey.
Ankara sent two ships to carry out drilling off the Cypriot coast despite the warnings from the EU.
Cyprus has been divided between the Republic of Cyprus and a northern third under Turkish military control since 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by a Greek military junta.
The tensions over gas drilling are also likely related to the collapse of peace talks in 2017, experts say.
While negotiations to reunify the island have not restarted, Cyprus has moved to start gas and oil exploration by issuing licenses.