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.