Turkey’s energy minister Berat Albayrak has been flown aboard the Turkish seismic survey vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, according to reports in the Turkish Cypriot media.
Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris Postasi reported that Albayrak – who also happens to be the son-in-law of Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan – paid a surprise visit to the north.
After landing at Tymbou (Ercan) airport, Albayrak is said to have boarded a military chopper and was flown aboard the Barbaros.
The report did not mention the ship’s location at the time of the visit.
Online tracking apps indicated the Barbaros was off the bay of Famagusta late on Thursday afternoon.
The Barbaros is currently conducting seismic surveys to the east off the island, off Famagusta.
The notice reserving the area for surveys expires on June 30 – just days before Total and ENI are scheduled to start exploratory drilling for gas in block 11 south of Cyprus.
To carry out any economic activity, Turkey must ask permission from the jurisdictional coastal state (Cyprus), which it has not.