Cyprus says Turkish drill ship violating its rights

ATHENS - Cyprus on Friday said Turkey's actions in sending a drill ship to an area Nicosia has licensed for offshore hydrocarbons exploration was a 'severe escalation' of what it said was Ankara's violations of the island's sovereign rights.

Turkey has sent an oil and gas drilling ship to waters off southern Cyprus where Greek Cypriot authorities have already awarded exploration rights to Italian and French companies.

On Friday morning the drill ship, the Yavuz, had stopped some 51 nautical miles south-west of Cyprus.