Second Turkish drill ship arrives off Cyprus, expected to start drilling this week
Turkey’s second drill ship arrived off the coast of Cyprus on Monday and is set to begin drilling within days, Greek news outlet Kathimerini reported.
On Saturday, Turkey’s Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said the ship, the Yavuz, would begin drilling off the Karpasia peninsula this week, potentially exacerbating already high tensions between Turkey, Cyprus and Greece over gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Yavuz follows the first Turkish ship, the Fatih, which was dispatched in May and has been anchored west of Cyprus since last month.
The Yavuz is set to drill until September 30 with the help of three supporting vessels, according to Turkey’s latest navigational warning. Turkish press reported that Turkish military drones were surveying the area around the Yavuz.
Nicosia and Athens disagree with Ankara’s claims of drilling rights in the region. Turkey, the only nation to recognise Northern Cyprus, maintains that attempts by Cyprus to conduct gas exploration are a violation of the rights of the Turkish part of the divided island.
European Union member states and U.S. officials have objected to Turkey's increasing drilling efforts in the region.
Nicosia has started legal proceedings against three companies involved in gas drilling by Turkey in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for encroaching on the island’s continental shelf, and it plans to do the same for Yavuz, the Cyprus Mail reported.