Second Turk drilling rig heads for Cyprus coast despite exploration dispute

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Second Turk drilling rig heads for Cyprus coast despite exploration dispute

On Saturday, the 6th of July 2019, Turkish Energy Minister, Fatih Dunmiz said that a second drilling rig would begin drilling of natural gas and oil in a week over the eastern Mediterranean despite EU warning, a seemingly desperate approach which might further cast shadows over Turkey’s tangsled relationship with Cyprus due to disputes on exploration rights.

In fact, despite a warning of European leaders last month to stall Turkey’s gas and oil exploration in the disputed waters, a Turkish ship with drilling equipment had already reached the coast of Cyprus. Meanwhile, in alignment with Brussels, which cautioned Turkey last month to stay away from the disputed coasts of Greece and Cyprus, Cyprus had also issued an arrest warrant for every crew on-board of that Turkish ship containing drilling equipment later in June.

Nonetheless, according to Turkish state-controlled official news agency, Anatolia, the second drilling vessel has now been anchoring near a port of Mersin to load suppliers and to go through a final inspection before reaching disputed Cypriot water-territories.

However, as a response to an EU warning and an arrest warrant from Cyprus for all of the crews and passengers of that drilling vessel, Ankara, which had no diplomatic relationship with Cyprus had been quoted saying that certain maritime zones offshore of Cyprus fell under the sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriots, who had been ruling a separate state at the northern part of the island country and recognized by Turkey only, which Turkish energy minister, Dunmes, called as “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.