Turkey announces military exercise at Cyprus

Turkey will hold a naval exercise for the next two weeks in the sea area northwest of Cyprus. In a notice to the shipping industry, Turkey says that these are shooting exercises.

The announcement comes at a time when the tension in the area is high. Turkey is claiming waters which, according to international law, belong to Cyprus and Greece. Turkey wants to search for oil and gas fields there.

EU sanctions

Cyprus and Greece are supported by the EU. Foreign chief Josep Borrell yesterday announced that Turkish administrators and officials involved in the search for gas and oil will be blacklisted. This means that they are no longer welcome in the EU and their bank accounts will be frozen. The EU is also considering banning Turkish ships from European ports.

The question is how far the EU can go in imposing sanctions. Turkish president Erdogan has shown before that he can open the borders to Greece at any moment, so that refugees from among others Syria and Afghanistan can travel to the EU.

In February he used that pressure to force the EU to support the conflict in Syria and the reception of refugees from that country.

EU leaders will discuss the tensions between Greece and Turkey at a summit in Brussels at the end of September.