MOSCOW, July 15. /TASS/. The foreign ministers of the EU countries have approved the imposition of sanctions against Turkey over its geological exploration in the waters of Cyprus, the DPA agency reported on Monday referring to the statement adopted by the European ministers at a meeting in Brussels.
According to the document, the EU will reduce financial support for Ankara and suspend negotiations on an agreement on air transport. The EU countries are ready to consider other types of restrictive measures, if Turkey continues to violate the sovereign rights of Cyprus. Sanctions may be imposed against companies and individuals involved in drilling.
"Provocation of Turkey is unacceptable for all of us," German Minister of European Affairs Michael Roth said adding that the EU stands in the side of Cyprus.
Large natural gas reserves were found in the shelf and maritime exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. Particularly, the US Noble Energy company struck the 140 billion cubic meters estimated 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 authorities of Cyprus authorized the arrest of the Turkish crew. In spite of that, on July 4, Turkey sent the second vessel dubbed Yavuz to perform more exploration activities.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country is ready to defend the rights of the Turkish Cypriots for the offshore fields, including with the use of armed forces.