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Cyprus proceeds against firms involved in Turkey’s gas drilling in eastern Med

The Cypriot (L) and European Union (R) flags are seen flying outside. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ / AFP PHOTO / PATRICK BAZ

Cyprus has initiated legal proceedings against three companies involved in gas drilling by Turkey to the west of the island for encroaching on the island’s continental shelf, a senior foreign ministry official said on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Officials declined to name the companies but said they were not Turkish.

Gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean in recent years have exposed tensions and claims of overlapping jurisdictions between the two countries, which do not have diplomatic relations.

A Turkish drill ship, the Fatih, has been anchored west of Cyprus since last month, and another drill vessel, the Yavuz, is scheduled to soon be deployed east of the island.

“We have already initiated legal proceedings against companies cooperating with the TPAO,” the foreign ministry official said, referring to the state-owned Turkish petroleum company.

“We are determined to do the same with the Yavuz,” the official said. Both areas are claimed by the Cypriot government as its exclusive economic zone, where it has rights to explore for hydrocarbons.

Turkey maintains an area west of Cyprus is its own continental shelf.

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