04:46 GMT +318 October 2019
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    Two oil tankers, the Turkish Ottoman Dignity, right, and the Spanish Sandra Tapias, sit at Ceyhan oil terminal in this June 22, 2003 photo

    Turkish Foreign Minister Says Fourth Exploration Ship to be Sent to Eastern Mediterranean - Reports

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    The news comes after earlier in the day the EU imposed restrictions on Ankara for drilling off the coast of Cyprus, where the island nation and a member of the bloc has exclusive economic rights.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that Ankara would send a fourth exploration ship to the eastern Mediterranean, Anadolou reported on Tuesday.

    "If [Brussels] takes such decisions against Turkey, we will increase activities [in the Eastern Mediterranean]. We have three ships in the Eastern Mediterranean. We will send the fourth one as soon as possible", Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by the Anadolu news agency.

    Energy Minister Fatih Donmez has confirmed the decision, stating that the seismic research vessel Oruc Reis would be sent to the region after completing its current tasks in the Sea of Marmara.

    At the moment, at least two Turkish drillships, Yavuz and Fatihare are anchored off the coast of Cyprus to drill for oil and gas. While Cyprus and Greece, backed by Brussels, consider this to be a provocation, the Turkish government has stated it has a right to drill for natural resources in the region.

    The underlying cause of the row is the unresolved situation around the non-recognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when the Turkish military entered the island, claiming they had to protect Turkish Cypriots from the Greek community. Nearly a decade later, the TRNC was declared, but Turkey is the only country to recognise it.

    Related:

    European Commission Says Proposed Steps on Turkey's Drilling Off Cyprus to EU Leaders
    Cyprus’ Turks Propose Gas Extraction Cooperation to Island’s Greeks Amid EU Sanctions Threat
    No Need to Take EU Steps Against Ankara Over Cyprus Issue Too Seriously - Turkish FM
    Turkey to Continue Drilling Operations Near Cyprus Despite EU Criticism - Foreign Ministry
    Tags:
    Fatih Donmez, Cyprus, Mediterranean Sea, East Mediterranean, drilling, oil drilling, offshore oil drilling, Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu
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