The Yavuz drilling vessel is en route to the Guzelyurt-1 well in the Mediterranean Sea to continue oil and gas exploration activities, according to Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez on Thursday.
"Our Yavuz drilling vessel is in a new expedition," Donmez wrote on his Twitter account.
"Yavuz is moving towards the Guzelyurt-1 well where it will drill. We will not stop to make our underground resources available to our nation," he added.
According to an issued Navtex or navigational telex, the Yavuz drilling vessel will continue to work in the Mediterranean until January 2020.
Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (TRNC), is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with its drilling vessels, Fatih and Yavuz along with two other seismic vessels that are also operating in the same region.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’s annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the Cyprus dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- came to an end without any progress in 2017 in Switzerland.
By Murat Temizer