Turkey's president says the country's new drillship will "very soon" begin exploratory drilling in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in response to an offshore gas search by the government of ethnically divided Cyprus.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Turkey would work with the breakaway Turkish side of Cyprus in the search for hydrocarbons near the island nation. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence.
Erdogan repeated that Turkish Cypriots have a right to Cyprus' natural resources and that any drilling must be conducted by both their representatives and the Greek Cypriot-led government.
Erdogan said the Turkish warships that tried to prevent a ship from drilling on behalf of Italian company Eni "served as a lesson to some."
The Cyprus government says its search will benefit all citizens.