The European Union on Thursday blacklisted two Turkish nationals as retaliation over Ankara’s oil and natural-gas exploration in waters that are part of the exclusive economic zone of member country Cyprus.
The EU asset freezes and travel bans on the two people, whom the bloc plans to identify later on Thursday, Bloomberg reports.
The sanctions are the first of their kind in response to the actions of a nation seeking to join the EU.
However, the decision by EU governments in Brussels stops short of targeting any Turkish companies.
This reflects a desire to avoid antagonising a key ally in the fight to prevent Middle East migration, particularly from war-torn Syria.
Relations between the EU and Turkey have been deteriorating since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to a failed coup attempt in mid-2016 by unleashing a widespread crackdown on political opponents.
Ties soured further in 2018 when the Turkish navy prevented drilling by Italy-based Eni SpA in Cypriot waters.
And again late last year, when Turkey carried out a military operation in northern Syria to carve out a buffer zone and struck a controversial accord with Libya on their maritime boundary.
The energy-exploration tensions are a reminder of the most basic European disagreement with Turkey: its occupation of the northern part of Cyprus since a 1974 invasion.