Brussels is considering sanctions on more Turkish individuals and companies to deter them from drilling in contested Mediterranean waters, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said such measures would not pose a big problem.

The EU will “prepare additional listings” on the basis of a sanctions list already in place since 2019, according to a draft statement cited by Reuters. Brussels is also ready to “work on the extension” of the list, “if need be.”

The draft statement was prepared for EU leaders to agree at a summit on Thursday after they threatened in October to sanction Turkey over its drilling for hydrocarbons off the coast of Cyprus and Greece.

EU foreign ministers on Monday accused Ankara of failing to end the row with Greece and Cyprus over potential gas resources, but any decision on sanctions is expected at the EU summit.

Apparently aware of looming tough measures against his country, Erdogan downplayed the prospect of sanctions earlier on Wednesday. “[The] EU’s proposed sanctions on Turkey would not be a major problem for us. The EU has already been imposing sanctions on Turkey from time to time for years now,” he told reporters in Ankara.

Erdogan said that “the EU has never kept its promises,” adding, however, that Turkey continues “to wait patiently.” He also accused Greece of refraining from solving issues through dialogue, but said: “If Greece acts honestly then we will continue to stay at the table.”

He also stressed that Turkey will continue to protect its interests, as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey is at loggerheads with both Athens and the internationally recognized government in Cyprus, and says it is drilling for hydrocarbons in waters on its own continental shelf or in areas where Turkish Cypriots have rights.

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