Turkey launched a second drilling ship off the northeast coast of Cyprus to carry out natural gas operations for three months, triggering a sanctions warning from the European Union.
Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said at the launch of the vessel, Yavuz, it would operate in a borehole near Cyprus’ Karpas Peninsula, and reach a depth of 3,300 metres (3,609 yards), Reuters reported.
Turkey already has a ship offshore Cyprus, and Cyprus last week issued arrest warrants for its crew.
Turkey and the internationally-recognised government of Cyprus have overlapping claims in that part of the Mediterranean, an area thought to be rich in natural gas.
At a Brussels summit, EU leaders warned Turkey to halt its gas drilling in disputed waters or face action from the bloc.
Turkey, which does not have diplomatic relations with Cyprus, claims that certain areas in Cyprus’s offshore maritime zone, known as an EEZ, fall under the jurisdiction of Turkey or of Turkish Cypriots, who have their own self-declared state, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognised only by Turkey, and is internationally isolated.
Cyprus says that defining its EEZ is its sovereign right.