Another Turkish drill ship heading for contested area off Cyprus

Another drilling ship is to join the two Turkish drill ships that continue to operate in a disputed area in the Eastern Mediterranean Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez has said. Natural resources in the area have been increasing tensions between Turkey and Cyprus.

Donmez told reporters on the drillship Yavuz that a second exploration vessel would begin work in the area by the end of August. A Turkish frigate and patrol boat accompanied the Yavuz.

“Fatih is continuing to drill in the Finike-1 borehole in the areas licensed to Turkey. Yavuz is continuing its operations in the Karpaz-1 borehole,” he said earlier this week, adding that “the Oruc Reis seismic exploration ship will join this work as of the end of August”.

EU foreign ministers last month suspended negotiations on a comprehensive air transport agreement and decided not to hold further EU-Turkey high-level dialogue for the time being.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are scheduled today August 9th to discuss ways to break the current peace talks impasse. Akinci said the Greek Cypriot side was making unilateral attempts to explore for natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean despite repeated Turkish Cypriot proposals to resolve the issue.

“This doesn’t leave the Cypriot Turkish side and Turkey with any choice other than what we are doing right now,” Akinci told Reuters TV.