Turkey has extended the operations of its Yavuz energy drill ship in disputed Mediterranean waters off Cyprus until October 12, in a move that could stir tension between Nicosia and Ankara.
Yavuz will be accompanied by three other Turkish ships, according to a maritime notice that added “all vessels are strongly advised not to enter” the area.
Turkey provocatively began drilling for oil and gas within Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone for almost a year.
The island was split after a 1974 Turkish invasion spurred by a brief coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece. A breakaway ‘state’ in north Cyprus is recognised only by Ankara.
Turkey questions Cyprus‘ right to explore in the seas around the island because it alleges that Nicosia does not represent the interests of Turkish Cypriots.
That argument is dismissed by EU-member Cyprus, which is legally recognised as representing the entire island.
In a separate dispute between Turkey and Greece, the two countries are at odds over the delimitation of their continental shelves.
Greece said on Tuesday it was ready for talks with Turkey following the withdrawal of a Turkish exploration vessel from a disputed region.