EU Stays Soft on Turkey Over Cyprus Energy Drilling

Αssociated Press

Cyprus' President Nicos Anastasiades. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA - Despite pleas from Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades to get tougher, the European Union is staying to a line of soft sanctions against Turkey for drilling for energy off the island's coast, similar to other measures were didn't work and were ignored.

Critics said the EU is fearful that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will unleash millions more refugees and migrants on the bloc through Greek islands, people who had gone to Turkey fleeing war and strife in their homelands en route to trying to reach Europe.

The EU, however, has shut its doors to them, dumping the problem largely on Greece, which is inundated with more than 100,000 of them at the same time Erdogan said he would also sent drill ships off Greek island to look for energy after signing a deal with Libya dividing the seas.

The new sanctions from the EU were travel bans on two Turkish nationals who weren't identified, officials told Bloomberg, but not Erdogan nor high-level officials or diplomats who continue to attend EU meetings although Turkey has been trying since 2005 to join but failed so far.

The new measures won't affect Turkish companies at the same time that Cyprus has never acted to enforce international arrest warrants against the operators of the ships, with Turkish warships having earlier been set to the seas near them in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey doesn't recognize. The EU earlier had implemented a range of other sanctions, but at low levels.