By Erdogan Cagatay Zontur
ANKARA (AA) - Yavuz, a Turkish drilling vessel, is undertaking a new expedition in Turkey’s continental shelf in northeast of Cyprus, according to an official.
“Yavuz will launch a new round of offshore drilling operations on 7 October 2019,” Cagatay Erciyes, acting director general at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said on Twitter.
“The drilling area lies within the Turkish CS [continental shelf] registered with the UN," he added.
The Turkish government granted Turkish Petroleum drilling permits in 2012, the official went on to say.
Yavuz will continue to work in the Mediterranean Sea until January 2020.
Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with its two drilling vessels, Fatih and Yavuz, along with two other seismic vessels that are also operating in the same region.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.