Jan 10 2019

Turkey discusses exploring gas in disputed area off Cyprus

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday that Turkish government had discussed Turkey’s second drilling platform to start looking for gas reserves in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean west of Cyprus, Diken news site reported.

“The issue of our second platform to start drilling in our exclusive zone which overlaps with west of Cyprus was also discussed during the National Security Council meeting,” Diken quoted Çavuşoğlu as saying during a television program on NTV. “Everyone there is also doing what they are responsible of under the instructions of our president.”

Turkey's first drilling vessel, Fatih, started its first deep drilling near Antalya on the county's southern Mediterranean coast in October. 

The exploration and drilling of gas reserves around Cyprus is a much more contentious topic between the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey, which is the only country to recognise the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Cyprus has divided the area it claims in its exclusive economic zone into 13 blocks, the rights to drill in which have provoked high interest due to the potential for huge gas discoveries. In its economic zone, Turkey has made claims on parts of Cyprus blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7.

Athens and Nicosia have repeatedly said Turkey is violating international law with its claims and drilling activity in the eastern Mediterranean near Cyprus