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Second Turkish ship begins gas drilling off Cyprus

August 7, 2019 GMT
FILE - In this Thursday, June 20, 2019 file photo, a Turkish police officer patrols the dock, backdropped by the drilling ship 'Yavuz' to be dispatched to the Mediterranean, at the port of Dilovasi, outside Istanbul. Turkey's state-run news Anadolu Agency quoted Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, Turkey's Energy Minister Fatih Donmez as saying that Yavuz, had begun operations in an area off the Karpas peninsula on Cyprus' east coast. Cyprus says Turkey's drilling activities are unlawful while the European Union announced sanctions against Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
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FILE - In this Thursday, June 20, 2019 file photo, a Turkish police officer patrols the dock, backdropped by the drilling ship 'Yavuz' to be dispatched to the Mediterranean, at the port of Dilovasi, outside Istanbul. Turkey's state-run news Anadolu Agency quoted Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, Turkey's Energy Minister Fatih Donmez as saying that Yavuz, had begun operations in an area off the Karpas peninsula on Cyprus' east coast. Cyprus says Turkey's drilling activities are unlawful while the European Union announced sanctions against Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
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FILE - In this Thursday, June 20, 2019 file photo, a Turkish police officer patrols the dock, backdropped by the drilling ship 'Yavuz' to be dispatched to the Mediterranean, at the port of Dilovasi, outside Istanbul. Turkey's state-run news Anadolu Agency quoted Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, Turkey's Energy Minister Fatih Donmez as saying that Yavuz, had begun operations in an area off the Karpas peninsula on Cyprus' east coast. Cyprus says Turkey's drilling activities are unlawful while the European Union announced sanctions against Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s state-run news agency says a second Turkish ship has started drilling for gas off ethnically divided Cyprus, in an area where the Cypriot government says it has exclusive economic rights.

Anadolu Agency quoted Turkey’s Energy Minister Fatih Donmez as saying Wednesday that the ship, Yavuz, had begun operations in an area off the Karpas peninsula on Cyprus’ east coast, reaching a depth of 1,710 meters (5,610 feet). Operations would last up to three months, he said.

Another Turkish ship, Fatih, started drilling in June 67 kilometers (42 miles) off Cyprus’ west coast.

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Cyprus says Turkey’s drilling activities are unlawful and the European Union has announced sanctions against Turkey. Ankara insists it is protecting its rights and those of Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus’ breakaway north to the area’s hydrocarbon deposits.