Ankara's announcement on Friday that it is dispatching a vessel to conduct drilling operations off northeastern Cyprus coupled with a spike in Turkish violations of Greek airspace is being seen as a response to, if not an outright snub of sanctions announced a few days ago by the European Union Foreign Affairs Council over its activities within the Eastern Mediterranean island's territorial wat
Turkish oil-and-gas drilling ship Fatih, which had been conducting surveying work off southwestern Cyprus, is sailing away from the country's exclusive economic zone (EZZ), Kathimerini Cyprus reported.
The vessel Fatih had been deployed west of Akamas peninsula since last April. It now appears to be heading towards Turkey's coast but has not declared a specific destination.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has slammed Turkey's activity in the Eastern Mediterranean saying that Ankara is questioning Cyprus' sovereignty.
"We are playing on the chessboard of international law. It would be an act of absolute folly to return to time of 19th century gunboats," Dendias told Proto Thema radio station on Wednesday.
In yet another blatant violation of Cyprus' sovereignty, Turkey on Thursday sent its Yavuz drillship to an area off the west coast of the island and within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to prospect for hydrocarbons.
The area, which is in Block 7 of the island's EEZ, has already been licensed for exploration to the French-Italian consortium of Total and Eni.
The Turkish drillship Yavuz has withdrawn from the coastal waters off Cyprus, just south of the Karpasia (Kaspas) peninsula where it had aimed to prospect for hydrocarbons, it emerged on Tuesday.
The vessel moved to the Turkish port of Tasucu and is now located opposite the Karpasia peninsula for reasons that remained unclear.