EU Leaders Threaten Sanctions on Turkey Over Cypriot Dispute

Cyprus objects to oil and gas drilling by Turkey

European Union leaders issued a statement early Friday faulting Turkey over the disputes with Cyprus on oil-and-gas drilling, and threatening sanctions against them if Turkey violates international law or takes any “unilateral” actions.

The move came after Cyprus demanded the EU take action, and Austria agreed. Other officials said support for Cyprus over Turkey is “non-negotiable” and that all EU states must back them.

Some EU leaders tried to downplay the significance of this, saying that the EU language was deliberately ambiguous so as not to mean much. At the same time, diplomats say they expected Turkey to react strongly negatively to the EU statement.

EU Council President Charles Michel called for a more positive agenda with Turkey, while conditioning that on the Turks ending all unilateral actions.

Turkey is interested in searching out resources across the Mediterranean, and made a deal with Libya to get access to their territorial waters. Several EU nations, particularly Greece, have objected to that, and Turkey maintains their right to engage in such exploration.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of