Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has shared a map showing areas in which new applications for Turkish oil drilling licences have been made around the coast of Cyprus, Anadolu news agency said.
Çağatay Erciyes, a senior Turkish foreign ministry official in charge of maritime and aviation boundary affairs, shared the map on Twitter and said that the United Nations had been informed of areas in the eastern Mediterranean included in the Turkish Petroleum Corporation’s (TPAO)’s new applications for drilling licences.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy, in a written statement, said that: “Our country will continue to exercise its sovereign rights in this field, which it has announced many times.”
The TPAO has applied for licences to drill in seven additional oil fields in the eastern Mediterranean outside of Turkish territorial waters. The decision of the General Directorate of Mining and Oil Affairs of Turkey’s Energy Ministry published the decision in the Official Gazette on 30 May.
Tensions have been rising recently between Turkey, Cyprus and Greece over a scramble for resources off the coast of Cyprus.
Cyprus has been split between a Greek-Cypriot administration in the south, recognised internationally, and a breakaway Turkish-Cypriot government in the north recognised only by Turkey.
Turkey has made clear its intentions to drill in areas in the west of the divided island, in spite of protests from the Greek Cypriot and its allies. Some of the areas explored by Turkish vessels lie in the Cypriot state’s claimed exclusive economic zone, which has caused increased tensions between Ankara and Athens.
Ankara says the breakaway Turkish-Cypriot enclave in the north of the island has a right to a share in the reserves.