The US State Department on Tuesday called on Turkish authorities to cease immediately any “unlawful activities” in Cyprus’ territorial sea and remove its drillship, Yavuz.
Turkey has already established a presence in the region with its Yavuz and Fatih drillships and the Barbaros research vessel.
On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that a fourth Turkish ship, the Oruc Reis research vessel, is on its way to the region.
“This provocative step raises tensions,” the State Department said responding to questions from Hellas Journal and Cyprus News Agency, adding that only Cyprus, acting through its government, can consent to activities such as drilling within its territorial sea.
It also said that resource development in Eastern Mediterranean should promote cooperation, provide foundation for durable energy security and economic prosperity.
Meanwhile, Turkey has issued a series of navigational telexes (navtex) since Friday reserving areas for naval exercises using live fire off Cyprus where the Fatih is conducting drilling operations.