The European Union has imposed sanctions on two Turkish nationals in connection with their company’s drilling activities off Cyprus.
Mehmet Ferruh Akalin and Ali Coscun Namoglu, two high ranking officials with the Turkish Petroleum Corporation, are banned from any travel within the European Union, according to the EU’s Official Journal.
The decision stopped short of placing sanctions on any companies, while Cyprus says the set of measures could evolve
The restrictions, which could include an asset freeze and make it difficult for the two individuals to have access to EU funds, were based on TPAO’s drilling activities that took place “without the authorization of the Republic of Cyprus.”
But the measures stopped short of placing sanctions on TPAO as a company, while the foreign ministry of the Republic of Cyprus has said the set of measures could evolve.
The restrictive measures, which required the consent of all current member states within the European Union, were made possible after Nicosia lobbied for more practical ways of support from the EU in connection with contested waters off the island. The European Council, which approved sanctions last year, did not name any individuals.
Turkey maintains that exploratory drilling for hydrocarbons is taking place on behalf of Turkish Cypriots in the north, while Greek Cypriots in the south say Turkey is in direct violation of international law as well as Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone.