Despite mounting pressure from the EU and the US to comply with the international law and avoid provocations against Cyprus, Turkey will launch a second drilling vessel on Thursday (Jun 20) that will begin natural gas operations near Cyprus at the beginning of July, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
Turkey argues it has overlapping claims with the internationally recognised Cypriot government for offshore oil and gas research in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean, an area thought to be rich in natural gas.
Ankara already has a ship, called Fatih, in the region. Donmez was quoted as saying by state-owned Anadolu agency that the vessel was continuing to drill in a field to the west of Cyprus.
“Our second ship is about to be ready. We will send off our drillship Yavuz on Thursday,” he said of the second vessel, called Yavuz.
“Those who try to push Turkey out of the energy equation in the eastern Mediterranean are aware that there is no realistic solution without Turkey but they cannot express this,” he added.