The European Council on Friday issued a one-year extension to its framework for sanctions that could be imposed on individuals and entities responsible for Turkey’s controversial gas exploration and drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The decision allowed the European Union to maintain its ability to impose targeted restrictive measures, which could take the form of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.
So far, the EU has only applied sanctions under the specific framework, adopted in November 2019, once. In February, it imposed restrictive measures on two senior officials at Turkey’s Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) in relation to unauthorised drilling activities off the coast of Cyprus.
"The Council today adopted a decision extending for one year, until Nov. 12, 2021, the existing framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey's unauthorized drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean," it said.
"The EU will therefore maintain its ability to impose targeted restrictive measures on persons or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorized drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean."
Turkey’s energy designs in the Eastern Mediterranean have brought escalating friction with Greece and Cyprus, which have repeatedly called for harsh sanctions against Ankara, with the EU deciding to allow additional time for diplomacy to diffuse tensions.