Yavuz to start drilling off Cyprus in a week: Minister
“God willing we will be starting the first drilling within a week,” Dönmez told state-run Anadolu Agency on July 6.
The ship will be exploring off the peninsula of Karpasia, the minister added.
Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles have escorted drillship Yavuz on its journey to the Mediterranean and will be deployed off Cyprus island to conduct surveillance.
Yavuz was also escorted by Barbaros frigate, one of the main warships of the Turkish navy named after Ottoman admiral Barbaros Hayreddin,
Over the past few days, the Turkish general staff has shared images of F-16 jets saluting Yavuz on its way.
Turkey’s first drilling vessel, Fatih, has already started searching for gas and oil off Cyprus.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area and Ankara has the right to hydrocarbon drilling as well.
European Union leaders have warned to end its gas drilling in disputed waters or face action from the bloc, after Greece and Greek Cyprus pressed other EU states to speak out.
Meanwhile Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay has warned against underestimating Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean or violating its rights and those of the Turkish Cyprus.
“Those who move against the legitimate rights of Turkey or the Turkish Cyprus and discount Turkey in the region will not be able to reach their aims,” Oktay said on July 6 in the Turkish Cypriot capital of Nicosia.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara intervened as a guarantor power. In 1983, the Turkish Cyprus was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.