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Cyprus says Turkish drilling ship violates its rights

Christian Fernsby |
Tensions between Cyprus and Turkey over offshore drilling intensified as Nicosia accusing Turkey of a “severe escalation” of violations of its sovereign rights.

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Turkey announced on Thursday that it had sent an oil-and-gas drilling ship to waters off southern Cyprus where Greek Cypriot authorities have already awarded hydrocarbon exploration rights to Italian and French companies.

Ankara, defiant of growing European criticism, said the drill ship would launch new operations next week even as a British diplomat said that Britain “deplored” any drilling in waters close to the island.

The two sides have been shadow-boxing over offshore rights for years, but the simmering dispute between countries that have spurned diplomatic relations has moved closer to boiling over.

Turkey says some of the areas where Cyprus is exploring are either on its own continental shelf or in zones where Turkish Cypriots have equal rights over any finds with Greek Cypriots.

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