The EU has discussed which sanctions to use on Turkey over its use of drillship offshore Cyprus.
Possible measures include suspending EU-Turkey political talks and technical talks on issues such as energy and transport, as well as similar bilateral talks between EU capitals and Ankara.
Also included are cuts in EU aid to for Turkish reforms and curtailing European Investment Bank (EIB) lending.
“The cuts in pre-accession funds were already agreed last year, so this would just be a symbolic confirmation of that”, an EU diplomat told EUobserver on Wednesday, referring to a previous decision to hold back €147m because of Turkey’s human rights abuses.
The freeze on EIB loans, which were worth €386m last year, could also “easily be done”, the EU contact said.
However, they are more tentative regarding the suspension of talks.
“We have to send the appropriate political message, while keeping some channels of communication open”, the diplomat noted.
“We need to continue dialogue on certain issues which are important to us”, the source added, referring to an EU-Turkey deal to prevent refugees coming from Syria to Greece.
EU states’ ambassadors will hold a second round of talks on the subject on Thursday, with a view to a public statement by EU foreign ministers next week.
However, EU Council president Donald Tusk indicated that sanctions were a done deal.
“Despite our best intentions to keep good neighbourly relations with Turkey, its continued escalation and challenge to the sovereignty of our member state Cyprus will inevitably lead the EU to respond in full solidarity”, he said on Wednesday.
The dispute over sovereign rights has also driven Egypt, Israel, and the US to urge Turkey to stop, in a regional energy axis which aims to build a new gas pipeline to the EU, the EastMed pipeline, weakening Turkey and Russia’s grip on energy supplies to south-east Europe.
EU Observer online