Second Turkish drillship arrives off coast of Cyprus: shipping data

Turkish energy minister said the Yavuz drilling ship would start operations in a week. (AFP)
Updated 11 July 2019

Second Turkish drillship arrives off coast of Cyprus: shipping data

  • European Union leaders warned Turkey last month to stop drilling gas in the area
  • Cyprus said the second drilling was an escalation by Turkey

ISTANBUL: A second Turkish drillship, which is expected to begin drilling for oil and natural gas near Cyprus this week, arrived off the Mediterranean island’s northeastern coast on Monday, Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed.
Last month, European Union leaders warned Turkey to end its gas drilling in disputed waters around the island or face action from the bloc, after Greece and Cyprus pressed other EU states to speak out.
In a move that could further strain ties with Cyprus over exploration rights, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez was quoted by state-owned Anadolu news agency on Saturday as saying the Yavuz would start drilling within a week.
Yavuz had been at the southern Turkish port of Mersin doing final tests and taking on supplies before departing for Cyprus on Sunday. The shipping data showed that it arrived off the coast of the Karpas peninsula overnight.
Meanwhile, Cyprus ‘strongly condemns’ what it said was an infringement of its sovereign rights by Turkey, after Ankara sent a drill ship off the island to explore for oil and gas.

“This planned second drilling ... is an escalation by Turkey of its repeated violations of Cyprus’s sovereign rights based on the UN Law of the Sea and international law, and is a most serious violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus,” Cyprus’s presidency in Nicosia said in a statement.
Ankara, which does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus, claims that certain areas in Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone, known as an EEZ, fall under the jurisdiction of Turkey or of Turkish Cypriots, who have their own breakaway state in the north of the island which is recognized only by Turkey.
Cyprus was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Several peacemaking efforts have failed and the discovery of offshore resources has complicated the negotiations.


Turkey’s new seismic survey in Mediterranean set to revive Greek tensions

Updated 13 min 23 sec ago

Turkey’s new seismic survey in Mediterranean set to revive Greek tensions

  • Two NATO allies are at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region
  • Oruc Reis vessel has already reached the location where it will operate

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s navy has issued an advisory saying that the Turkish ship Oruc Reis will carry out a seismic survey in a disputed area in the eastern Mediterranean over the next two weeks, a step likely to revive tensions with neighboring Greece.
The two NATO allies are at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the region. A similar advisory, or Navtex, last month prompted a dispute which was calmed after the intervention of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leading Turkey to agree a pause in operations.
But President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Turkey had resumed energy exploration work in the region as Greece had not kept its promises on the issue.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was expected to chair a meeting of the government council on foreign affairs and defense issues at 0900 GMT, his office said on Monday.
Minister of State George Gerapetritis told Greek state TV that Athens was in full “political and operational readiness.” Greece stood ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with Turkey on their differences, he said.
The NAVTEX, issued by the Turkish navy’s office of navigation, covered an area of sea south of Turkey’s Antalya and west of Cyprus. It will be in effect between August 10-23.
The Oruc Reis vessel has already reached the location where it will operate after leaving the area where it was anchored off Antalya, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Twitter.
Seismic surveys are part of preparatory work for potential hydrocarbon exploration. Turkey and Greece are also at odds over issues such as overflights in the Aegean Sea and ethnically divided Cyprus.
Erdogan’s announcement of the new exploration work came after Egypt and Greece signed an accord last Thursday designating an exclusive economic zone between the two nations in the east Mediterranean.
Diplomats in Greece said that agreement nullified an accord reached last year between Turkey and the internationally recognized government of Libya, but Erdogan said Turkey would maintain its agreement with Libya “decisively.”