Turkey launches new gas drillship amid tensions with Cyprus
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Turkey launches new gas drillship amid tensions with Cyprus

Members of the press and officials on a tour, board the drilling ship 'Yavuz' scheduled to be dispatched to the Mediterranean, at the port of Dilovasi,outside Istanbul, Thursday, June 20, 2019. Turkish officials say the drillship Yavuz will be dispatched to an area off Cyprus to drill for gas. The Cyprus government says Turkey’s actions contravene international law and violate Cypriot sovereign rights. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

ISTANBUL — Turkey is launching a second drillship that it says will drill for gas off neighbouring Cyprus despite European Union warnings to refrain from such illegal actions that could incur sanctions against Ankara.

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez was due aboard the Yavuz on Wednesday as part of a ceremony to launch the 230-meter (750-foot) vessel that Turkish officials say can drill to a maximum depth of 12,000 metres (40,000 feet).

Another Turkish drillship, the Fatih, is already drilling 40 miles off Cyprus’ west coast in what the Cypriot government condemned as a violation of international law and its sovereign rights.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels are mulling possible actions against Turkey, which insists it’s only defending its rights and those of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the area’s energy reserves.

The Associated Press

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