Turkey has sent three truckloads of unmanned aerial vehicles to Geçitkale Airport of Turkish Cyprus, Demirören News Agency reported on Dec. 15.
Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said that at this stage only ground control units began to be installed at Geçitkale Airport, but no UAV has been deployed yet.
“Some of the unmanned aerial vehicles currently taking off at Dalaman [Airport] will arrive at Geçitkale when the ground control unit, which is being installed now, is operating,” he said on Dec. 15.
The aerial vehicles, which will accompany the drilling vessels and naval forces of Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, will now take off from Geçitkale Airport.
As Turkey exercises its right to carry out energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkish Cyprus allows it to fly drones from a local airport, Turkish Cypriot officials announced.
In a statement Dec. 13, the Turkish Cypriot Prime Ministry said that the government approved Turkey’s use of Geçitkale Airport for unmanned aerial vehicle flights.
“In light of developments in the eastern Mediterranean region, and at the request of the Turkish Cypriot Peace Forces Command, the Turkish Cypriot government is allowing for activities of unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs] at Geçitkale Airport to protect Turkey’s and Turkish Cyprus’ legitimate rights and interests,” the statement said. The airport is located in the eastern coastal city of Magusa (Famagusta).
the Turkish Cypriot cabinet has designated Geçitkale Airport on the north of the Island as a base for Turkish drones operating as part of works seeking hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), both unarmed and armed, will start to take off from Gecitkale Airport as of Dec. 16, Demirören News Agency reported.
Turkey began seeking oil and gas off the coast of Cyprus earlier this year, dispatching two drillings and an exploration vessel with UAVs escorting them.
Ankara says that some areas Greek Cyprus operates in are either on the Turkish continental shelf or in areas where the Turkish Cypriot state has rights over any finds.