A second Turkish drillship will begin drilling for oil and natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean within a week, Turkey’s energy minister said, in a move which that could strain ties with Cyprus over jurisdiction rights for exploration.
Last month, European Union leaders warned Turkey to end its gas drilling in disputed waters or face action from the bloc, after Greece and Cyprus pressed other EU states to speak out.
Turkey already has a ship off Cyprus and Cyprus issued arrest warrants for its crew in June.
The second drilling ship, Yavuz, is currently at the port of Mersin doing final tests and taking on supplies, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez was quoted as saying by Turkish state news agency Anadolu.
Ankara, which does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus, claims that certain areas in Cyprus’ offshore maritime zone, known as an EEZ, fall under the jurisdiction of Turkey or of Turkish Cypriots.