News 06 March 2020

EU sanctions Turkish petrochemical bosses for illegal Cyprus drilling

The European Union has imposed sanctions on two senior officials of the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (‘TPAO’), holding them responsible for illegal drilling off the coast of Cyprus.

The EU imposed travel bans in Europe and asset freezes on TPAO Vice President Mehmet Ferruh Akalin and Ali Coscun Namoglu, the deputy director of the company’s exploration department.

It accused both of involvement in ‘planning, directing and implementing TPAO’s offshore hydrocarbon exploration activities. These include TPAO’s drilling activities which have not been authorized by Republic of Cyprus,’ an EU statement said.

Cyprus has been a divided island since Turkey annexed the north in 1974 in response to a coup by supporters of union with Greece. The Greek Cypriot portion of the island is a member of the EU, but the government of the Turkish north is recognized by Ankara alone.

Ankara insists it is drilling for hydrocarbons as part of an agreement with the Turkish Cypriot government, but the Greek Cypriot government has denounced Turkey and insists that any gas exploration agreement with the Turkish north is invalid under UN resolutions.