Second Turkish ship begins gas drilling off Cyprus

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's state-run news agency says a second Turkish drillship has started drilling for gas off ethnically divided Cyprus, in an area where the Cypriot government says it has exclusive economic rights.

Anadolu Agency quoted Turkey's Energy Minister Fatih Donmez as saying Wednesday that the ship, Yavuz, had begun operations in an area off the Karpas peninsula on Cyprus' east coast, reaching a depth of 1,710 meters (5,610 feet). Operations would last up to three months, he said.

Another Turkish ship, Fatih, started drilling in June 42 miles (67 kilometers) off Cyprus' west coast.

Cyprus says Turkey's drilling activities are unlawful and the European Union has announced sanctions against Turkey. Ankara insists it's protecting its rights and those of Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus' breakaway north to the area's hydrocarbon deposits.

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