February 28, 2020

TURKEY: EU Imposes Restrictions On Two Turkish Petroleum Execs Against Turkey's Illegal Drilling Activities In The Eastern Mediterranean Which Were Not Authorized By The Republic of Cyprus

Athens News Agency - Macedonian Press Agency (ANA-MPA)
written by Staff
Thursday February 27, 2020

The European Council on Thursday imposed restrictive measures on two individuals - a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze - in relation to Turkey's unauthorised drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean.

These persons are:

Mehmet Ferruh Akalin, Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO). He is the head of TPAO's Exploration, R&D Centre and Information Technologies Departments.

Ali Coscun Namoglu, Deputy Director of the Exploration Department of TPAO.

Moreover, EU nationals and entities are not allowed to transfer funds to these two listed individuals.

"These persons are responsible for or involved in planning, directing and implementing offshore hydrocarbon exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean which have not been authorised by the Republic of Cyprus," the EU statement reads.

A framework for restrictive measures in response to Turkey's illegal drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean was set up in November 2019, after the Council had repeatedly expressed its concerns and strongly condemned the drilling activities in various sets of conclusions, including the European Council conclusions of March 22, 2018 and of June 20, 2019.

EU Debates | eudebates.tv published Jan 31, 2020: Erdogan defies UN arms embargo in Libya and EU debates next steps of EU sanctions against Turkey.

French Military source says Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier spotted Turkish vessel escorting cargo ship delivering armoured vehicles to Tripoli in defiance of UN embargo. The cargo ship Bana docked in Tripoli port on Wednesday, said the source, who asked not to be named. According to the Marine Traffic specialist website, the vessel was recorded Thursday off the coast of Sicily.

The claim came a day after President Emmanuel Macron angered Ankara by accusing his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan of failing "to keep his word" to end meddling in the north African country.

Specifically, Macron said Turkish ships had in recent days been seen taking ships laden with pro-Ankara Syrian mercenaries to Libya.

The UN Security Council has since February 2011 imposed an arms embargo on Libya, relating to the supply of arms and military equipment to and from the country.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame warned Thursday that moves to resupply the parties in the conflict "threaten to precipitate a new and much more dangerous conflagration."

Turkey backs the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) which has been fighting an offensive launched by fighters loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, who controls three-quarters of Libyan territory.

Turkey's parliament this month approved a bill approving a military deployment to Libya to shore up the government but Ankara insists the numbers of Turkish troops are small and that they are only there to train Libyan forces.

In a conflict which has split regional powers, Turkey's main regional ally Qatar also supports the GNA but the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, staunch foes of Erdogan's Turkey, back pro-Haftar forces.

Russia, which has worked closely with Turkey on efforts to end the Syria conflict, is also seen as backing Haftar but denies funding Russian mercenaries on the ground.

The Turkish foreign ministry on Wednesday blamed France for Libya's instability, saying it was "no secret" that Paris had given "unconditional support" to Haftar with an eye on the country's energy reserves.

The situation in Libya requires full implementation of an arms embargo, and the results of the Berlin Conference are the first step towards resolution of the Libyan crisis which reconfirmed the will of all sides to achieve a political solution, according to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.

Dendias said that Greece looks positively on a possible reactivation and expansion of ‘operation Sophia’ to monitor compliance with the arms embargo in Libya, as well as the potential deployment of a UN peacekeeping force.

“Greece is prepared to contribute to both initiatives.”

PM Mitsotakis will meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on January 29th, in an attempt to enhance the international coalition against the Turkish provocations in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Greek newspaper Ekathimerini that France would not agree to any matter that violates the rights of Greece or Cyprus, as Turkey drills for oil in the island’s sovereign waters.

Cyprus was frustrated by the European Union’s reluctance to take a strong stand against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to flood Europe with millions of refugees and other migrants, through the Greek islands.

EU has only imposed soft sanctions, but EU official Borrell said that tougher measures must be taken.

CGTN published July 14, 2019: Turkey will drill for gas until Greek Cypriots accept cooperation plan. Turkey's foreign minister says the country will continue its gas exploration activities in waters off Cyprus. That's only until the Greek Cypriot government accepts a proposal put forward by a Turkish (Islamic) Cypriot leader. What an Islamic bully!

World Oil Magazine
written by Jonathan Stearns and Nikos Chrysoloras
Thursday February 27, 2020

BRUSSELS - The European Union blacklisted two Turkish nationals as retaliation over Ankara’s energy drilling off Cyprus in a move that has more political symbolism than economic punch.

The EU asset freezes and travel bans on the two people, whom the bloc plans to identify later on Thursday, make good on its months-long vow to counter Turkey’s oil and natural-gas exploration in waters that are part of the exclusive economic zone of member country Cyprus. The sanctions also are the first of their kind in response to the actions of a nation seeking to join the EU.

At the same time, the decision by EU governments in Brussels stops short of targeting any Turkish companies. This reflects a desire to avoid antagonizing a key ally in the fight to prevent Middle East migration, particularly from war-torn Syria.

“Hanging in the balance is a possible influx of Syrian refugees into Europe,” said Michael Emerson of the CEPS think tank in the Belgian capital. “It’s a highly sensitive political issue in the EU.”

Relations between the EU and Turkey have been deteriorating since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to a failed coup attempt in mid-2016 by unleashing a widespread crackdown on political opponents.

Ties soured further in 2018 when the Turkish navy prevented drilling by Italy-based Eni SpA in Cypriot waters and again late last year, when Turkey carried out a military operation in northern Syria to carve out a buffer zone and struck a controversial accord with Libya on their maritime boundary.

The acrimony has halted negotiations on a bid for EU membership by Turkey, which has been seeking to join the bloc since the 1980s and began accession talks in 2005. The energy-exploration tensions are a reminder of the most basic European disagreement with Turkey: its occupation of the northern part of Cyprus since a 1974 invasion.

Nonetheless, the EU is counting on Erdogan to uphold a 2016 agreement that stemmed a politically explosive flood of Mideast refugees into the bloc via Greece and European leaders are keen to keep channels of communication with Ankara open. As part of the migrant accord, the EU pledged 6 billion euros ($6.5 billion) to help Turkey handle migrants.

Anadolu Agency, Turkey
written by Baris Gundogan and Yildiz Nevin Gondogmus
Sunday February 15, 2020

Efforts to open abandoned Maras town show Turkish Cypriots will not accept status quo on divided island

The people of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will not accept deadlock as the fate of the long-divided Mediterranean island of Cyprus, said Turkey's vice president on Saturday.

Fuat Oktay's remarks came during a meeting on the legal, political and economic aspects of reopening the abandoned town of Maras -- empty for decades -- in the Turkish Cypriot city of Gazimagusa.

Oktay said efforts to open the abandoned town proved that Turkish Cypriots would not accept the status quo.

Turkey aims to protect the rights of Cypriot Turks and ensure their political equality with Greek Cypriots, he added.

"Maras belongs to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," he added, saying: "Steps by the TRNC for the economy and welfare of the area are legitimate."

Last year, Oktay said Maras would reopen after properties in the town were fairly returned to their rightful owners on the basis of historic documents.

Maras is currently a ghost town where entry is forbidden except for Turkish army personnel stationed in the TRNC.

Abandoned after the passage of a 1984 UN Security Council resolution, Maras' reopening was announced by Turkish Cypriot authorities on June 18.

Historical and archival research backed by Turkey found that most of the land in Maras belongs to Turkish foundations, Oktay had said.

In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.

The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all failing.

The latest, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.

👇 Great informative video 👇

TRT World published Sept 20, 2019: Cyprus Talks: Turkish Cypriot PM talks to TRT World. The United Nations is stepping up the pressure on Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders to get back to the negotiating table and reunify the divided island. The UN Secretary-General wants to meet the leaders of both communities this month. At the same time, on the island, there's controversy about a sealed-off tourist area. This report from TRT World's Diplomatic Correspondent, Andrew Hopkins.

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