A Turkish military drone has arrived at a base in northern Cyprus. The drone has been brought in to aid controversial gas exploration near the island.
Ismail Demir, the head of Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate, said the first unarmed Turkish drone took off from an airport in Turkey’s western province of Mugla and landed at Gecitkale airport.
The Turkish Cypriot cabinet on Friday designated the Gecitkale airport on the island as a base for both unarmed and armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the request of the Turkish government.
Turkey began seeking oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus earlier this year. It has sent two drill ships and an exploration vessel with UAVs escorting them. In response, the European Union said the activities were illegal and prepared sanctions against Turkey. Ankara has said the areas in which Greek Cypriot ships are operating are located on its continental shelf or elsewhere in regions where the Turkish Cypriot state has rights over any finds.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974. The northern third is run by a Turkish Cypriot government and the southern two-thirds by a Greek Cypriot government. There has been debate for years about the ownership of fossil fuels in the eastern Mediterranean, which is thought to be rich in natural gas.
Turkey and Libya signed an agreement last month regarding maritime boundaries in the sea. Greece said Turkey has violated international law as a result of the deal, but Ankara said the deal asserts the country’s rights in the region.
Sources: CGTN, Reuters