Turkey is taking all measures to prevent an oil slick from Syria from spreading to the Karpas coast of Northern Cyprus, the Turkish vice president said Monday.
'We are taking the necessary measures by mobilizing every means available that we have without giving any chance to the spill to turn into an environmental disaster,' Fuat Oktay told Anadolu Agency.
The relevant ministries 'rapidly' discussed the situation during the day, said Oktay, adding Turkey’s Transport and Infrastructure Ministry will take the necessary measures at sea and the Environment and Urbanization Ministry on the Karpas coast.
Stressing that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also following the developments closely, Oktay said: 'We are in contact with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar and the TRNC authorities as well. The Turkish Embassy is [also] monitoring the matter closely.'
Air and sea units of the Turkish Coast Guard Command plan to carry out flights to determine the current position of the slick in the sea, he added.
A delegation with the General Director of Environmental Management will also head to the TRNC on Tuesday, he said.
The aim is to control the slick in the open sea before it reaches the shore, he said.
'In this context, all relevant organizations are mobilized and are closely following the issue,' he added.
'The progress of the oil leaking from Syria towards our island is closely being followed by the Prime Ministry, all relevant ministries and units in cooperation with the homeland Turkey,' TRNC Prime Minister Ersan Saner said according to a statement by the Prime Ministry.
'No one should doubt that whatever is necessary will be done to prevent our country from being harmed by this spill,' Saner added.
A crisis desk has been set up in the Prime Ministry to monitor the progression of the oil slick towards Cyprus.
A massive fuel oil leak occurred last week from a power plant in Baniyas, located on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, according to naval tracking firm Tanker Trackers.
Reporting by Abdullah Yasin Guler
Writing by Faruk Zorlu