As Bloomberg reports, Turkey began drilling in new areas in the southwest coast of Cyprus Tuesday, in a move that could further increase tensions with the European Union , Greece and France, resulting in increased military presence in the region.
President Erdogan has vowed to defend Turkey’s rights and urged Mediterranean countries to come together and resolve differences over a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday.
Ankara continued explorations in disputed waters of the eastern Mediterranean last week after German-mediated negotiations with Greece fell through when Athens announced a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt on 6 August in retaliation for a similar agreement between Turkey and Libya.
The eastern Mediterranean has become the focus of natural resources production, with Cyprus, Israel and Egypt announcing huge deposits in recent years and Turkey pushing to secure a share of the deposits. Turkey is defying the European Union’s warnings a stance that its unilateral actions in territorial disputes with Greece and Cyprus could further worsen relations.
Following the deployment of the Oruc Reis south of Kastelorizo last week, Turkey began operating a second drilling rig – the 230-meter (755-foot) Yavuz – on Tuesday. Accompanied by three offshore supply ships under the protection of the Turkish Navy.
“All vessels are advised not to enter this area ,” a Turkish naval website said on Saturday, as it designated exploration areas that would be closed until September 15th.