LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Turkey on Saturday issued a new alert announcing that its drill ship Yavuz will continue its work exploring for energy resources off the island of Cyprus.
The international maritime alert or Navtex said that the drill ship will operate between Aug. 18 and Sept. 15 along with the Ertugrul Bey, Osman Bey and Orhan Bey vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean, southwest of Cyprus.
“It is strongly recommended not to enter the working area,” the Navtex warned.
Following the Navtex for the Yavuz, the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus published a “counter-Navtex.”
According to Greek radio, the administration claimed Turkey’s new Navtex is unauthorized and invalid, and the Yavuz drilling and its accompanying vessels’ activities in the region are illegal.
Navtex or Navigational Telex is a maritime communications system that allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area, as well as other information.
Turkey last week resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.
The agreement came days after Ankara said it would postpone its oil and gas exploration as a goodwill gesture.
But after declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void,” Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis research vessel to continue its activities in an area within the country’s continental shelf.
The ship will continue its two-week mission until Aug. 23 along with the vessels Cengiz Han and Ataman.
Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean.
Turkey has also said energy resources near Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – which has issued Turkish Petroleum a license – and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the only solution to the dispute was through dialogue and negotiation, and urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.
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