Cyprus Condemns Turkey’s 2nd Offshore Gas Drilling Bid

Turkey's 230-meter (750-foot) drillship 'Yavuz' crosses the Marmara Sea on its way to the Mediterranean, from the port of Dilovasi, outside Istanbul, Thursday, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

NICOSIA (AP) — Cyprus is condemning a second effort by Turkey to drill for gas in waters off its coast as an escalation in its breach of international law.

Cyprus said Monday it will defend with all diplomatic and legal means its sovereign rights against Turkey’s encroachment in waters where the east Mediterranean island nation has exclusive economic rights.

Turkey says it’s protecting its rights and those of Turkish Cypriots in the breakaway north of divided Cyprus to the area’s hydrocarbon deposits. The Turkish Fatih ship started drilling last month 42 miles off Cyprus’ west coast. A second vessel, Yavuz, has now sailed to a target area off the Karpas peninsula on Cyprus’ east coast.

The European Union has warned Turkey of sanctions. Cyprus also urged Ankara to re-engage in peace talks.