Turkey will launch a second drilling vessel on Thursday which will begin natural gas operations near Cyprus at the beginning of July, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Ankara already has one ship, called “Fatih,” in the region. Donmez was quoted as saying by Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency that the vessel was continuing to drill in a field to the west of Cyprus.
“Our second ship is about to be ready. We will send off our drill ship “Yavuz” on Thursday,” he said of the second oil exploration and drilling vessel.
“Those who try to push Turkey out of the energy equation in the eastern Mediterranean are aware that there is no realistic solution without Turkey, but they cannot express this,” the government spokesman added.
On Monday, a Cyprus government spokesman stated that Turkey’s activities within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) are tantamount to an attack on the island.
Speaking to Skai TV, Prodromos Prodromou said that although it could not be confirmed that Turkey has actually commenced drilling for oil and gas within the borders of Cyprus’ EEZ, Ankara’s official announcement “constitutes a further escalation in the blatant violation which we have been experiencing.”
“Even without drilling, Turkey’s stance constitutes a violation of international law. [It is] an attack on the Republic of Cyprus,” Prodromou declared.