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    Ankara Reacts to Cypriot Warrants

Summary

Cyprus has issued arrest warrants following the Turkish drill-rig activity.

by: David O'Byrne

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Ankara Reacts to Cypriot Warrants

Ankara has responded strongly to news that Cyprus has issued arrest warrants for the crew of Turkish drill ship Fatih, drilling within the maritime exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claimed by Cyprus.

Turkish foreign ministry officials warned June 11 that Turkey would "give the necessary response" if Cyprus "dares" to implement the warrants. Cypriot media reported the day before that Cyprus had issued international arrest warrants for 25 people including the crew of the Fatih, and employees of unnamed "partner companies." 

Separately Turkey's state news agency Anatolia reported Turkish energy minister Fatih Donmez as stating that Turkey's state upstream operator TPAO will continue its drilling operations in the region with a second TPAO drill ship, the Yavuz, expected to start drilling after ongoing preparations are completed. 

An energy ministry official confirmed to NGW that the Fatih is scheduled to drill one well at its current location west of Cyprus, with drilling expected to continue for 100 days from May 3. The official also confirmed that the second drill ship Yavuz is expected to depart from port near Istanbul later this month for a location east of Cyprus, but declined to identify the exact location it is expected to drill. 

The official also declined to name the "partner companies" working with TPAO on its drilling operations. Ankara has long disputed Cyprus' claims to a 200 nautical mile EEZ around the island and claims part of the region north west and west of the island for its own EEZ, pointing out that it includes part of Turkey's continental shelf. 

Ankara also disputes Cyprus' right to allow exploration for mineral reserves within other parts of its EEZ, insisting that no exploitation of reserves should be allowed prior to an agreement for the re-unification of the island.