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The European Union on Monday (July 15, 2019) approved a series of political and financial sanctions against Turkey in response to its continued illegal excavations in Cypriot territorial waters despite warnings to stop them,.

"Action has been taken against Turkey," EU Foreign Minister Federica Mugherini said at the end of a meeting of foreign ministers of 28 countries in Brussels. However, Mogherini did not reveal what these sanctions were that European sources said it would be of a financial nature and there would be diplomatic measures against Ankara.

The sources said that large amounts of European funds will be deducted from the supposed to be given to Turkey during the year 2020. He also asked the European Investment Bank to review the terms of financing for Turkey, according to several European sources.

The European Union has also decided to reduce its high-level dialogue with Turkey without cutting it. "It is not unlikely that targeted sanctions will be adopted later," a senior European diplomat said.

At the end of June, EU leaders threatened to impose sanctions on Ankara if it refused to halt "illegal" excavations. However, these excavations continued despite European warnings and the situation was "unacceptable", according to the diplomat.

"We stand behind Cyprus"

"Turkey's provocations are unacceptable to all of us … We have now reached a balanced language that makes all our options open, including sanctions, of course," said Michael Roth, the German minister of state for Europe. "Turkey knows the dangers and the EU stands in a row with Cyprus."

"It is very clear that we are standing behind Cyprus, and this is logical because we have never recognized the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus," said Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schleinberg.

The Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union, exercises its authority only over the southern part of the island, while Turkish forces control the northern part or the internationally recognized "Republic of Northern Cyprus".

AH / KHP (AFP)

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