Turkish ship to begin drilling south of Cyprus by Tuesday: energy minister

The Turkish drillship Yavuz is escorted by Turkish Navy frigate Gemlik (F-492) in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Cyprus in this August 6, 2019 photo. (Reuters)
Updated 07 October 2019

Turkish ship to begin drilling south of Cyprus by Tuesday: energy minister

  • Cyprus has accused Turkey of a ‘severe escalation’ of violations of its sovereign rights
  • Turkey and Greece are allies in NATO but have long been at loggerheads over Cyprus

ISTANBUL: The Turkish drillship Yavuz will begin drilling for oil and gas southwest of Cyprus on Monday or Tuesday, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said, in a move which has intensified tensions between the two countries.
Ankara said on Thursday it had sent the ship to the area where Greek Cypriot authorities have already awarded hydrocarbon exploration rights to Italian and French companies.
Cyprus has accused Turkey of a “severe escalation” of violations of its sovereign rights.
“All preparations have been completed, and it (Yavuz) will start its first drilling in the area either today or tomorrow,” Donmez told an energy conference on Monday.
Turkey has already drilled wells in waters to the east and west of the island, triggering strong protests from Nicosia and the European Union in recent months, including EU sanctions.
Turkey and Greece are allies in NATO but have long been at loggerheads over Cyprus, which has been ethnically split between Greek and Turkish Cypriots since 1974.
The internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government represents Cyprus in the European Union, while a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north is only recognized by Ankara.
The latest development is the first time the two sides have targeted the same area. The United States has warned Turkey not to engage in “illegal” drilling activity in the area.
On Monday, Yavuz was located about 50 nautical miles (90 km) southwest of Cyprus, Refinitiv Eikon shipping data showed.


Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jubeir: Iran should stop targeting Kingdom through missiles and militias

Updated 12 min 13 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jubeir: Iran should stop targeting Kingdom through missiles and militias

  • Al-Jubeir: The Iranian regime has hijacked the country
  • He added that Saudi Arabia is committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia does not target Iran with missiles and through militias and therefore it should stop doing the same, the Kingdom's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said at a press conference in Hungary on Friday.

Al-Jubeir added that the Iranians are “a historically moderate people, but the regime has hijacked the country.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Al-Jubeir said that sanctions have been imposed on Iran “because of its behavior in the region” and not due to Saudi Arabia's desires.

As US President Donald Trump prepares to host Israeli leaders in Washington to reveal details of his long-delayed Middle East peace plan, Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom “has no relations with Israel and is committed to a two-state solution, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.”

He added that Saudi Arabia does not want war in Yemen and is seeking a political solution.