ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey on Tuesday rejected as “worthless” an initial set of sanctions approved by the European Union against Ankara, and vowed to send a new vessel to the eastern Mediterranean to reinforce its efforts to drill for hydrocarbons off the island of Cyprus.
EU foreign ministers on Monday approved sanctions against Turkey over its drilling for gas in waters where EU member Cyprus has exclusive economic rights. They said they were suspending talks on an air transport agreement, as well as high-level Turkey-EU dialogues, and would call on the European Investment Bank to review its lending to the country.
They also backed a proposal by the EU’s executive branch to reduce financial assistance to Turkey for next year. The ministers warned that additional “targeted measures” were being worked on to penalize Turkey, which started negotiations to join the EU in 2005.
The EU sanctions came as Turkey also faces possible economic sanctions from the U.S. over its purchase of a Russian-made missile defense system which Washington says is incompatible with NATO equipment and poses a threat to the U.S. F-35 fighter jet program. Turkey began taking delivery of the Russian S-400 system on Friday and planes carrying more components arrived in Turkey on Tuesday.