17:29 GMT01 October 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Turkey's third offshore drilling ship will begin operations in 2020 to boost the country's oil and gas exploration efforts, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in parliament on Wednesday.

    "The new ship… can drill down to 11,400 meters [7 miles]. It will complete sea trials in March and start exploratory drilling later this year alongside the Yavuz and Fatih ships operating offshore", he said.

    The two ships have been drilling in northern Cyprus's exclusive economic zone, which Turkey and the breakaway Turkish community lay rights to. Ankara has ignored repeated calls by the Cypriot government and the European Union to stop.

    Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz is escorted by Turkish Navy frigate TCG Gemlik (F-492) in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Cyprus, August 6, 2019
    © REUTERS / Murad Sezer
    Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz is escorted by Turkish Navy frigate TCG Gemlik (F-492) in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Cyprus, August 6, 2019

    Brussels, in its turn, stated it will implement sanctions against the Turkish companies and individuals responsible for carrying out the drilling operations.

    The Mediterranean island has been divided for decades between Greek Cypriots in the south and a Turkish Cypriot state in the north that is only recognised by Ankara. The discovery of hydrocarbons off Cyprus's shore in 2011 only deepened the split.

    Tags:
    Offshore Drilling, oil drilling, drilling, oil drilling, Turkey, Cyprus, North Cyprus
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