Turkish drill ship “Yavuz” set sail on Sunday from the Turkish port of Taşucu, in the country’s southern coast, en route to a drilling target in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), accompanied by a Turkish frigate.
With an unauthorized navtex, Ankara designated an area between blocks 6 and 7 in Cyprus’ EEZ for illegal drilling activities from April 20 to July 18.
A military source told CNA that Yavuz set sail before midnight, at 23.30 (Cyprus time) on Sunday, and is expected to reach the target later this evening.
Apart from the Turkish frigate, Yavuz is not accompanied by any other support vessel at this time. They are expected to depart at a later stage.
The Turkish side is also expected to issue an unauthorized notam, to facilitate helicopter flights to and from Yavuz in order to alternate staff.
The Republic of Cyprus already issued an anti-navtex to counter the Turkish navtex in the area and will proceed with Cyprus Radio announcements once Yavuz reaches the target.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.
(Cyprus News Agency)