Turkey may deploy a long-range S-400 missile-defense system it is expecting to receive from Russia along the southern Turkish coast, across from Cyprus, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
Citing confidential sources, Bloomberg said that Ankara is considering deploying the battery, which may be delivered within the next few weeks, close to the area where it has warships accompanying survey vessels exploring for gas deposits in the East Mediterranean.
Washington has threatened Ankara with sanctions over the S-400 purchase amid concerns that having hardware in NATO-member Turkey would allow Russia access to sensitive military information.
Meanwhile, Turkey on Thursday issued a navigational telex reserving a sea area within its territorial waters north of Cyprus for drilling activities until mid-June. It is also maintaining its presence around Cyprus, with the Fatih drillship in the island’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the Barbaros research vessel south of the city of Limassol. Another drillship, the Yavuz, is currently stationed in the Sea of Marmara. If it is also deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean, it will become the third Turkish vessel with a presence in the area.
Washington has also warned Ankara against drilling in Cyprus' EEZ, saying it “risks raising tensions in the region.”
“Turkey will continue its activities in line with the international law and not allow faits accomplis in the East Mediterranean,” Turkey's National Security Council said in a terse statement late on Thursday, responding to mounting international concern about its energy exploration plans.