With the world’s eyes strewn on Turkey’s incursion into Syria (MEES, 11 October), Ankara’s move to disrupt Cyprus’ energy aspirations have gone largely unnoticed. On 8 October Turkey’s Yavuz Drillship began exploratory drilling 90km off the southwest coast of the Mediterranean island, sparking criticism from the US, Russia, Israel, Egypt and the EU amongst others.
Although Turkey has played spoiler to Nicosia’s plans to drill previously, stopping Eni from drilling Block 3 in March last year, this is the first time it has drilled in a block south of the island that has been awarded to other companies. The block was awarded to a JV of France’s Total and Eni, in July (MEES, 2 August). The latest drilling location lies just inside Turkey’s maximalist Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) claim which is apparently based on Ankara’s understanding of the Turkish continental shelf (see map). (CONTINUED - 719 WORDS)