By KEREM HASAN
Mr Dönmez was speaking from the deck of the Yavuz vessel, where he was joined by TRNC Prime Minister Ersin Tatar, Economy and Energy Minister Hasan Taçoy, and broadcast media who were given a tour of the ship.
“As of today, we have drilled to a depth of about 1,710 metres,” Mr Dönmez said. “The programme will last about two-and-half to three months. We hope, God willing, that when we reach our target point, we will also reach natural gas.”
The 230m-long Yavuz, which is being escorted by a Turkish navy frigate, is drilling in an area known as Karpaz-1 under a licence issued by the TRNC.
It has two towers reaching a height of 130m and is able to drill to a depth of 12,200m.
A second drillship, the Fatih, has been active in waters to the west of Cyprus, within Turkey’s continental shelf, since May, while the Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa seismic research vessel is located south of the island.
The Greek Cypriot administration accuses Turkey of violating its self-declared “exclusive economic zone”.
“If it [natural gas] exists, we will find it,” Mr Dönmez declared.
“In August, our second seismic vessel, the MTA Oruç Reis, will also be sent to the Mediterranean.
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