Turkey recently started exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the Turkish north of Cyprus, further fueling the debate over which country can exploit the potential resources of the Mediterranean Island.
The Associated Press reports the move by Turkey follows recent action by Greek Cypriots to begin a gas search off the island's shore. At the inauguration of the drilling activity by Turkish petroleum company TPAO, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that it was a symbolic beginning.
"We may not extract oil or gas from this well, but drilling is part of a wider package," Yildiz said. "This work has strategic significance and we attribute great importance to it."
Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu added that the start of the drilling was a "historic moment," according to the AP.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the drilling was launched at the 3,000-meter-deep Turkyurdu-1 well, which is near the Greek Cypriot border.