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The Standard Club: EU sanctions against Turkey

11 Nov 2020

Ursula O’Donnell, Divisional Claims Director, Yassmin Hamzeh, Claims Assistant of The Standard Club, on Tuesday (29 September) published a summary behind the EU’s decision to place sanctions against Turkey over what it considers to be unlawful explorations into Cypriot territorial waters to search for gas reserves: 

Turkey and Greece have been in a dispute for some time regarding who has the right to exploit gas reserves in key areas of the Eastern Mediterranean. Greece and the EU have declared that Turkey’s exploration operations in these areas which includes west of Cyprus and within Cypriot territorial waters as illegal and have called on Turkey to refrain from such activities. 

On 11 November 2019 the EU adopted a framework of restrictive measures which provided that sanctions may be imposed on individuals or entities involved in unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.  On the same day EU Regulation 2019/1890 was published which is available here. The Regulation provides for:

  1. an asset freeze against individuals and entities who have been identified as being responsible for or involved in the planning, preparing, participating in, directing or assisting drilling activities in relation to hydrocarbon exploration and production which have not been authorised by Cyprus within its territorial sea or exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or on its continental shelf
  2. providing financial, technical or material support for the above mentioned drilling activities
  3. being associated with Individuals or entities referred to above.

To date the EU has only applied sanctions under the framework once in February 2020 it imposed an asset freeze on two senior officials of Turkey’s state-owned company, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), in relation to Turkey’s unauthorised drilling operations offshore Cyprus.

On 6 November 2020 the European Council extended the above sanctions framework for another year, until 12 November 2021.

We recommend that members should carry out careful due diligence regarding any counterparties which could be the target of these sanctions and contact their usual club contact should they have any queries.​


Photo credit: Guillaume-Perigois
Published: 11 November, 2020

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