Turkey will be dispatching a second drillship to the eastern Mediterranean in the middle of the month, the country’s energy minister has said.
Fatih Donmez said the drillship, dubbed the ‘Yavuz’, would be ready to start a new drill by July.
“Thus in the eastern Mediterranean our flag will be waving aboard our two giants, the Fatih and the Yavuz,” he added, alluding to the two drillships owned by Turkey.
“As we have always stated, the priority in our hydrocarbons explorations lies in safeguarding the rights of our country and of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Turkey has always been in favour of a solution on Cyprus and the Mediterranean and we are the most ardent supporters of international law in our region.”
Donmez went on to say that Ankara has no intention of usurping the rights of anyone, nor allowing its own rights to be usurped.
“Those who make devious calculations in the Mediterranean, those who covet the rights of the Turkish Cypriots via a fait accompli, hiding behind external players in region, should now abandon this insanity.
“In the past Turkey did not sit idly by while the Turkish Cypriots were being crushed, nor today will it remain on the sidelines with its hands tied.”
In early May Turkey sent its drillship, the Fatih, to waters well inside Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, at a location about 60km west of Paphos.
The vessel has remained there since, although it’s unclear whether it has commenced drilling.
Ankara is laying claim to parts of various blocks in Cyprus’ EEZ saying the areas in question form part of its continental shelf. The claim includes part of blocks 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Turkey signed a ‘Continental Shelf Delimitation Agreement’ with Turkish Cypriots in September 2011. The ‘agreement’ states that it has been signed in line with international law and with respect to the principle of equity, though the ‘TRNC’ is not recognised internationally. It is on this basis that Turkish Cypriots declared an ‘EEZ’ which in effect claims that half of Cyprus’ EEZ belongs to them, including blocks 1,2,3,8,9,12 and 13.