Egyptian parliamentarians and experts in energy security welcomed the announcement by the EU foreign ministers of the signing of a legal framework that allows the bloc to impose sanctions on Turkey for its gas exploration activities off the coast of Cyprus.
While some saw it as “an important but insufficient step,” others noted that “other steps by major powers” should be made to “preserve Mediterranean security.”
Cairo and Ankara have been involved in several legal and political debates over Mediterranean exploration, and Turkey announced in February 2018 that it does not recognize the “legality of an agreement signed by Egypt and Cyprus in 2013 to explore gas in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
The EU will be able to impose travel bans and asset freezes on individuals and entities responsible for drilling activities within the territorial waters of Cyprus, according to the European communique, issued on Monday.
Egyptian MP and member of the Committee on Defense and National Security, Tamer al-Shahawi said that the European trend to punish Turkey would serve the Egyptian-Greek-Cypriot tripartite stance of Ankara’s illegal exploration of energy reserves in the Mediterranean, and supports international legal moves in this regard.
Egyptian MP and expert in the National Security, Yehya Kadouni, said that Ankara violated the maritime sovereignty of an independent state, which is Cyprus, even though the agreements governing drilling and exploration are deposited with the United Nations. He also welcomed the European intention to impose sanctions against Turkey.