What Happened: Turkey will begin drilling for oil and gas with two drillships off the coast of Cyprus, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Daily Sabah reported Feb. 21.
Why It Matters: Turkey is currently exploring potentially valuable oil and gas reserves in Turkish waters, although it may eventually move closer toward Cyprus by using its claims to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which may lead to tensions with Cyprus. The Cypriot government issued a complaint to the United Nations in January that Turkey was planning to conduct drilling operations in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone.
Background: Turkey and Cyprus have been involved in an ongoing dispute over the extent of their respective exclusive economic zones. Cyprus has been attempting to align itself with other Mediterranean powers, including Israel, Greece, Italy and Egypt to prepare itself for a potential confrontation with Turkey.
- The Eastern Mediterranean's New Great Game Over Natural Gas (Feb. 22, 2018)
- Europe: Turkey Pokes and Prods Over Cyprus (Feb. 15, 2018)
- Cyprus: Reunification Talks End Without A Deal (Jan. 13, 2017)