Turkey continues threats and violations against Cyprus
The Turkish army will never hesitate to take the similar action "if needed to protect the Turkish Cypriots," said Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan last week, on the 45th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus.
In a message to the Turkish people on the day that Ankara calls the invasion of Cyprus "a peace operation of Turkey in Cyprus", the Turkish president threatened that his army would repeat the same if the rights of his country and Turkish-Cypriots are not respected.
"Those who think that the wealth of the island and the region only belongs to them will face the determination of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots," Erdogan said, referring to Cyprus’ exploration for hydrocarbons in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Turkey has recently in-creased its navy buildup in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Cyprus and Turkish drilling vessels are currently operating in the company of Turkish warships.
Turkey’s Naval Forces Com-mand is providing full protection to the drilling vessels, both on the surface and underwater, with the help of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the country’s National Defense Ministry said in a tweet on July 23.
"Our Naval Forces Command is continuously and incessantly accompanying our drilling vessels in the eastern Mediterranean," the ministry tweeted.
The vessels are being protected by air with the Bayraktar TB-2 UAV, a maritime patrol aircraft and naval helicopters. Some corvettes, frigates and assault boats are providing protection on the surface, the ministry added.
In addition, submarines are also escorting the drilling vessels by guarding them underwater, the ministry’s tweet noted.
Ankara has sent two drilling vessels — the Fatih, and most recently the Yavuz — to the eastern Mediterranean.