Monday,1 August, 2022
Tensions between Greece and Turkey have been heightened since a reported sighting of the Turkish drillship ‘Abdulhamid Han’ which is currently anchored around 10 nautical miles off the Mersin coastline between the mainland and North Cyprus, Kibris Postasi reported.
Originally, Turkey’s energy minister Fatih Dönmez announced that the ‘Abdülhamid Han’ would leave Taşucu port on August 9, however, the drillship left port 10 days earlier than expected. This event made headlines in the Greek and Southern Cyprus media.
President Ersin Tatar said that the, “Abdülhamid made a move….August 1 is the 451st anniversary of the [Ottoman] conquest of Cyprus. It’s a holiday gift“.
While the Greek and Greek Cypriot media were broadcasting the ship’s movements using shipping trackers, they wrote that the Greek army was on the alert and was also tracing the movements of the Turkish drillship.
It was speculated in the Greek media that the Greek armed forces and analysts were concerned that the drillship had left port 10 days earlier than announced.
Turkey could face an international backlash as its earlier drilling operations in the Eastern Mediterranean had caused tensions with the EU*.
*Turkey disputes ownership of marine territory off its shores and has never signed up to or ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.