Turkish drillship Yavuz withdraws from waters off Cyprus - Habertürk

The Turkish drillship Yavuz has withdrawn from the waters off the divided island of Cyprus, where it was exploring for hydrocarbons, the pro-government Habertürk newspaper reported on Tuesday. 

The vessel, Turkey’s second drilling ship in the region, moved to the Turkish port of Taşucu in the southern province of Mersin opposite the Karpas peninsula, in the north of Cyprus, for reasons that remained unclear, it said. 

Turkey dispatched the Yavuz to Cyprus on June 21 as part of its efforts to press its claims to potentially rich gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, which has led to tensions between Turkey, Cyprus and Greece.

Cyprus and Greece dispute Turkey’s claims in the region. Turkey, the only nation to recognise the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, maintains that attempts by the internationally recognised government of Cyprus to conduct gas exploration are a violation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriot north of the divided island.

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said in July the Yavuz was set to begin drilling off Karpas later that month, but Greek newspaper Kathimerini said the drilling vessel had not carried out such activities.

Turkey's first drilling vessel, the Fatih, began searching for gas and oil in the region in May. There have been no reports of its withdrawal from the area.