Two Turkish drill ships to begin operations in coming days

Two Turkish vessels will begin offshore drilling for oil and gas near Northern Cyprus in the coming days, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, state-owned Anadolu Agency reported.

The move is set to raise tensions between Turkey and Greece, which opposes Turkish drilling off Cyprus. Nicosia and Athens disagree with Ankara’s claims to drilling rights in the region. Turkey is the only nation to recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

“Both those who came to this area from afar and their companies should see that no one can do anything without us there,” Çavuşoğlu is quoted as saying on Thursday by Anadolu Agency.

“Nothing can be done in the Mediterranean without Turkey," he said.” We won’t let it.”

Turkey has long argued Cyprus must share its revenue from drilling, while a U.S. official in December 2018 warned Ankara to not obstruct Cyprus’ plans for drilling. ExxonMobil and Cyprus have been conducting exploratory drilling in the region.

The Turkish drilling vessel Fatih has been operating in the eastern Mediterranean since fall 2018, off the coast of the Antalya, Turkey. A second drill ship was diverted from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean in late December 2018 to begin exploring oil and gas.
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