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EU Points Out Sanctions Against Turkey After Drilling in Cyprus: Draft

BRUSSELS – The European Union (EU) will suspend high-level talks with Ankara and negotiations for an air transport agreement, in addition to freezing Turkey’s funding for the drilling of “illegal” gas and oil from Cyprus, According to a draft of statement seen by Reuters.
The EU’s joint decision, which can still be amended, will be debated by national envoys in Brussels on Thursday, with the aim of adopting it at the union’s meeting of foreign ministers on Monday.
In view of Turkey’s new illegal drilling activities under way, the EU decides to suspend negotiations on the Global Air Transport Agreement and agrees not to hold more high-level dialogue meetings at this time, the project says.
The Council approves the (European) proposal of the Commission to reduce pre-accession assistance to Turkey by 2020 and asks the European Investment Bank to review its lending activities in Turkey, in particular with respect to loans guaranteed by states, he said.
He added that the EU would be ready to introduce more restrictive measures against Turkey if Ankara continued to drill.
An EU diplomat involved in the talks told Reuters: that It would only be people related to these specific illegal activities, we are trying to calibrate this carefully because we need Turkish cooperation on migration, NATO and the fight against terrorism.
Some Member States rely on Turkey for the transit of energy, so we must act with caution, do not expect broad economic sanctions.
Ankara on Wednesday rejected criticism from Greece and the EU that Turkey was not illegally exploiting Cyprus.
While Nicosia advocated a tougher stance on sanctions, some other EU member states were cautious about closing all high-level communication channels with Ankara, diplomats said.
The EU expects Turkey to halt migration from the Middle East to Europe and for security reasons, but relations between the two countries have deteriorated, while President Tayyip Erdogan has been severely repressed following a failed coup in 2016.
The EU has frozen the long talks between Turkey and negotiations to improve its customs union, accusing Erdogan of widespread violations of human rights.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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