EU slaps sanctions on Turkey over gas drilling off Cyprus

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EU slaps sanctions on Turkey over gas drilling off Cyprus
In this Tuesday, July 9, 2019 photo, a helicopter flies near Turkey's drilling ship, 'Fatih' dispatched towards the eastern Mediterranean, near Cyprus. Turkish officials say the drillships Fatih and Yavuz will drill for gas, which has prompted protests from Cyprus.(Turkish Defence Ministry via AP, Pool)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union foreign ministers have approved initial sanctions against Turkey over its drilling for gas in waters where EU member Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.

The ministers said in a statement on Monday night that in light of Turkey’s “continued and new illegal drilling activities,” they were suspending talks on an air transport agreement and would call on the European Investment Bank to “review” it’s lending to the country.

They also warned that the EU’s executive branch was working on additional “targeted measures” to penalize Turkey, which started negotiations to join the EU in 2005.

Two Turkish vessels escorted by warships are drilling for gas on either end of ethnically divided Cyprus. The EU previously said the drilling breached Cyprus’ sovereignty and international law.