A Turkish news agency reported that the Council of Ministers of the Turkish part of Cyprus has designated an airport on the island of Cyprus, divided as a base for Turkish aircraft, a march accompanying oil and gas exploration ships in the eastern Mediterranean, in a move likely to increase tension with the European Union.
The Demir Oran news agency said that drones, some of them armed, will start taking off from Gchiktale Airport starting on December 16, according to Reuters news agency.
She added that efforts to find a base for these planes took some time, and that a team of experts from Ankara considered the airport, also known as Lefkoniko, a suitable option.
For his part, Arsin Tatar, Prime Minister of the Turkish part of Cyprus, said, "The protection of Turkish Cypriot rights and interests is the first priority."
Turkey has started prospecting for oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus this year, and has sent two drilling and exploration ships with escort planes for surveillance and protection.
Activities and opposition
The European Union sees these activities as illegal and prepared sanctions against Turkey in response.
Turkey, the United States, Egypt and Israel are also opposed to energy exploration activities conducted by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. Ankara says that some areas in which Cyprus operates either on the Turkish continental shelf or in parts of northern Cyprus have the right to own any exploration there.
It is noteworthy that, since 1974, the island of Cyprus has witnessed a split between two halves: Turkish in the north and Turkey in the south, and in 2004 the Roman Cypriots rejected a plan presented by the United Nations to unify the two parts of the island.