The ‘Fatih’ is the first Turkish surveying vessel to begin drilling in the seas around the island. The second, ‘Yavuz’, began drilling operations in July.
Greek Cypriot newspaper daily ‘Fileleftheros’, reported earlier this week that the ‘Fatih’ had struck gas reserves of up to 170 billion cubic metres in the waters off Paphos on the south-west coast of Cyprus.
‘Kıbrıs Postası’ quoted a diplomatic source as saying the story was credible.
“It’s true that Turkey found something”, the newspaper quoted its “high level” source as saying. The source said a formal announcement would have to be made by the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).
Turkey has argued that some areas of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) claimed by South Cyprus lies on its continental shelf, and opposes drilling activities by the South, saying it says this infringes on the rights of Turkish Cypriots.
The European Union considers Turkey’s drilling activities illegal, and has been discussing measures including sanctions to level at the country in response.
The EU is expected to announce plans for sanctions against Turkey on Monday.