Second Turkish ship to begin drilling off Cyprus: Energy minister
Story Code : 803612
Turkey and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.
Turkish state news agency Anadolu quoted Fatih Donmez as saying on Saturday that "the second drilling ship, Yavuz, is currently at the port of Mersin doing final tests and taking on supplies."
"God willing, within a week Yavuz will begin drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, in Carpasia (peninsula), in the area where we have got a license from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” said Donmez.
Turkey's first drilling vessel, Fatih, has already started searching for gas and oil off Cyprus. Cyprus has issued arrest warrants for the ship’s crew members, accusing the vessel of breaching the republic's sovereign territory.
Last month, Greece and Cyprus called on the European Union to take punitive measures against Turkey after Ankara announced it would expand exploration for potentially lucrative gas resources in the region.
Turkey, which does not have diplomatic ties with the Greek Cyprus, has vowed to prevent what it sees as a unilateral move by Greek Cypriots to claim offshore resources. It says some areas of Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone fall under what Ankara calls the territory of the Turkish Cyprus.
The island has been divided into Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern and Greek Cypriot-controlled southern territories since a brief war in 1974, which saw Turkey intervene militarily in response to a military coup on the island, which was backed by the Athens government to annex Cyprus to Greece.
Greek Cypriots run the island’s internationally recognized government, while Turkish Cypriots have a breakaway state in the north — only recognized by Turkey — and say offshore resources belong to them, too.