NICOSIA – Disregarding soft European Union sanctions for drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus, Turkey will send another research vessel off the island’s northern coast in a direct challenge to a member of the bloc.
The Abdulhamid Han, Turkey’s newest drilling vessel, will begin its first so-called research trip on Aug. from the country’s southern port of Mersin, venturing into areas around Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ,) parts of which Turkey doesn’t recognize.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself will announce the drilling vessel’s destination in a ceremony before the sailing, said Kathimerini, adding the move is seen as political as well, aimed at further claiming waters.
While that will bring tension it’s not expected to get as hot as it was in the summer of 2020 when Turkey also sent ships off Greek islands creating fears of a conflict.
And this time Erdogan was advised by US President Joe Biden at a NATO meeting not to turn up the heat as Washington is trying to keep relations with Turkey and Greece and has defended Cyprus’ sovereignty to a point.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also talked about the seas disputes with Turkish defense chief Hulusi Akar, who has been openly belligerent but it wasn’t said what happened.