ANKARA - A Turkish ship began exploring for gas off the coast of Cyprus on Monday, the Turkish Cypriot government said, an announcement that escalates a confrontation between Cyprus, Israel and Turkey over huge Mediterranean gas reserves.
The Greek Cypriot government said last week it had started drilling for gas at a site south of the island, infuriating Turkey which supports a separate Turkish Cypriot government on the north of the island.Israel has also been drilling in nearby waters.
On Monday, Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Irsen Kucuk said a Turkish exploration vessel had started exploration. He did not give the exact location, but said the Piri Reis ship was working in "the AR/KKTC/G authorised zone". KKTC is the Turkish abbreviation for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.