Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez, making a statement yesterday, said the country would “not bow to threats”.
He said Turkey had undertaken 117 offshore surveysin search of hydrocarbons in the first nine months of 2019, drilling a total of 250m, and would “undertake an active strategy” in 2020 with the “opening of five wells”.
“We are not going to take a step back in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Mr Dönmez added.
The Fatih, exploring under licence from the TRNC, is about 12.4 nautical miles away from the Karpaz coast, according to the Marine Traffic website, while another Turkish drillship, the Yavuz, is currently located to the west of Cyprus.
The Greek Cypriot authorities claim the Fatih is “violating the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”.
The latest moves came after the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a “framework” for “restrictive measures” against Turkey last week over its drilling activities in seas claimed by the Greek Cypriots as their “exclusive economic zone” (EEZ) but part of which Turkey regards as within its continental shelf.
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