The Turkish drillship Yavuz will begin drilling for oil and gas southwest of Cyprus on Monday or Tuesday, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said, in a move which has intensified tensions between the two countries.

Ankara said on Thursday it had sent the ship to the area where Greek Cypriot authorities have already awarded hydrocarbon exploration rights to Italian and French companies. Cyprus has accused Turkey of a “severe escalation” of violations of its sovereign rights.

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