Turkish Drillship Yavuz Ready to Start off Cyprus
Turkey's foreign ministry said July 10 the country's second drill ship Yavuz, deployed to the south of the Karpas Peninsula, northern Cyprus, will operate on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots within the licence area in compliance with international law. The licence was awarded to Turkish Petroleum (TPAO) by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, an internationally unrecognised state.
The ministry said it rejected the statements made by the Greek foreign ministry and European Union officials declaring Turkey’s aforementioned activities as illegal. "It is an exemplary point of concern that these statements do not ever mention the Turkish Cypriots and as such ignore their very existence in the island despite the fact that they are one of the co-founders of the Republic of Cyprus, whose rights have been usurped since 1963," it said.
"It has thus become clear that the EU will not be able to assume the role of an honest broker in the negotiation processes towards the settlement of the Cyprus issue," it said, adding that Turkey "will continue to defend Turkish Cypriots’ rights and interests around the island, insofar as the Greek Cypriots do not involve Turkish Cypriots in the decision making mechanisms, including the revenue sharing on hydrocarbon resources, and guarantee their rights."
Turkey's energy minister Fatih Donmez said in June that the Karpaz-1 well was being drilled with the intention of discovering hydrocarbon reserves which can be "of benefit to" Turkey, a process he said was expected to take around three months. Donmez did not say what the Yavuz would do after this first well has been drilled. The maritime area to the east of the island is claimed by the Republic of Cyprus as an as yet unallocated part of its exclusive economic zone.