The EU is considering the introduction of restrictive measures against Turkey due to Ankara's exploration work off the coast of Cyprus, a draft statement seen by Reuters shows.
“In light of Turkey’s continued and new illegal drilling activities, the (EU) decides to suspend negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agrees not to hold further meetings of the high-level dialogues for the time being. The Council endorses the (European) Commission’s proposal to reduce the pre-accession assistance to Turkey for 2020 and invites the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, notably with regard to sovereign-backed lending,” the statement said.
Ankara, challenging the boundaries of the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus, previously sent the Fatih vessel to the area, stating that the drilling will continue until September 3. On June 10, the authorities of Cyprus authorized the arrest of the crew of the Turkish Fatih drilling vessel. Despite this, Turkey dispatched a second drilling vessel Yavuz on July 4 to Cyprus for geological exploration on the shelf.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared the country's readiness to defend the rights of Turkish Cypriots to shelf fields, including with the use of armed forces.