The Turkish government is standing firm on its oil and gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean as Greece and Greek-administered Cyprus call on the European Union to take action against Turkey.

Turkey's drillship 'Yavuz' is seen after anchored offshore during its operations in Antalya, Turkey on June 25, 2019.
Turkey's drillship 'Yavuz' is seen after anchored offshore during its operations in Antalya, Turkey on June 25, 2019. (AA)

Turkey launched a second drilling ship on June 20 to the Eastern Mediterranean where ownership rights over resources in the region have become a major flashpoint between Turkey, Greece and Greek Cypriot Administration.

Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said at the launch of the vessel, Yavuz, it would operate in a borehole near Karpas peninsula, and reach a depth of 3,300 metres (3,609 yards).

Turkey already has a drilling ship, Fatih, working in the region. Fatih vessel is operating in waters west of Cyprus Island while Yavuz will operate in the east.

Greek-administered Cyprus says Turkey is violating its exclusive economic zone. 

Ankara says the Greek Cypriot unilateral actions disregard Turkish Cypriots’ existing rights in the island and also challenge Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction areas in the Mediterranean in the west of the Island.

European Union leaders are set to warn Turkey to end its gas drilling in disputed waters or face action from the bloc, as Greece and Greek-administered Cyprus pressed other EU states to speak out. 

But Ankara has dismissed the threats.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has been talking "nonsense" about the eastern Mediterranean issue.

"He may continue to do so. I told him clearly that we have rights there, and in exercising our rights, our exploratory ships and drilling ships will do their jobs in the eastern Mediterranean and our military will continue to guard those vessels," said Erdogan.

Turkish Foreign Ministry also has issued a statement regarding the drilling in Eastern Mediterranean saying that Turkey has legitimate and legal rights existing in the region.

"Particularly to the west of longitude 32° 16’ 18”E which have been registered to the UN. It is only natural that Turkey will protect its rights in its maritime jurisdiction areas," the statement added.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah has more.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies