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EU to impose sanctions on Turkey over Cyprus drilling — Austrian Foreign Ministry

Natural gas reserves were discovered within Cyprus' exclusive economic zone

BRUSSELS, July 15. /TASS/. The European Union intends to adopt sanctions against Turkey over its exploration activities in the Cypriot waters, Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg said in Brussels on Monday ahead of a meeting of the EU foreign ministers.

"Today, we will adopt a number of measures against Turkey — less money, fewer loans through the European Investment Bank, freeze of aviation agreement talks. Naturally, other sanctions are possible," the minister told reporters.

"We [the EU - TASS] are fully behind Cyprus," Schallenberg added.

Large natural gas reserves were found in the shelf and maritime exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. Particularly, the US Noble Energy company discovered the estimated 140 billion cubic meters' Aphrodite gas field.

Ankara is disputing the borders of the Cypriot exclusive economic zone and earlier sent the Fatih vessel to the area, announcing that the drilling would continue until September 3. On June 10, the Cyprus' authorities ordered arrest of the Turkish crew. In spite of that, Turkey sent a second vessel dubbed Yavuz to perform more exploration activities.