Two Turkish drill ships are continuing operations in the eastern Mediterranean, while another ship is expected to join them this month, said Energy Minister Fatih Donmez, amid an ongoing dispute between Turkey and Cyprus.
Turkey has already sent two drilling ships, Fatih and Yavuz, as well as an exploration vessel, to operate in waters off the divided island of Cyprus, prompting accusations from Greece that it is undermining security in the region.
Aboard the Yavuz drill ship, off the northeastern coast of Cyprus, Donmez told reporters that a second exploration vessel would begin work in the area by the end of August, Reuters reported.
A Turkish frigate and patrol boat accompanied the Yavuz.
Fatih is continuing to drill in the Finike-1 borehole, while Yavuz is continuing its operations in the Karpaz-1 borehole, he was quoted as saying.
The Oruc Reis seismic exploration ship will join this work as of the end of August,
Turkey’s operations in the region have surged a reaction from its Western allies, including the EU and the US.
In July, the European Council announced some preliminary sanctions against Turkey, suspending negotiations on the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement and agreeing not to hold the Association Council and further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues.
Meanwhile, when asked about Turkey’s moves on Tuesday, US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon said: “We support a peaceful, stable region and we discourage provocative actions by any players”.