Turkish drones were due to arrive in the northern part of Cyprus where they are expected to begin flying missions on Monday over drilling ships in search of natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
(Click here for an update to the story)
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, three semi truck trailers loaded with equipment reached a local airport in Lefkoniko/Gecitkale outside Famagusta under heavy security on Sunday early morning, around 1:30am.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will take off on Monday and continue to carry out missions, according to foreign media.
Two weeks ago, the Turkish Navy intercepted an Israeli ship which was conducting research around Cyprus
The drone missions are set to take place two months after news emerged in the south that the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus had received its first shipment of unmanned drones from Israel.
Aeronautics, an Israeli company, was chosen by the Republic of Cyprus in an effort to extend the Cypriot range of maritime surveillance capabilities with high definition cameras that can get images from very high flying altitudes.
The drones in the north and south were reportedly not armed, but Demiroren news agency said both both armed and unarmed Turkish UAVs would fly missions. Other reports also said demand for UAVs over the eastern Mediterranean has skyrocketed following disputed claims in the eastern Mediterranean.
Two weeks ago, the Turkish Navy reportedly intercepted an Israeli ship which was conducting research around Cyprus. The exact location was not made public but according to The Jerusalem Post, a Greek Cypriot geologist was on board the Bat Galim, which was sent out on a mission in Cypriot waters by the Israeli Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institution.
The incident came just after Turkey had signed a maritime deal with Libya, according to reports. Ankara and Tripoli drew criticism over the controversial agreement on maritime border coordinates, which are being challenged by Greece, Egypt, Israel, and the Republic of Cyprus.
Israeli’s top diplomat was later summoned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Ankara, the Post reported, adding that Turkey made it clear that plans for a natural gas pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to continental Europe would require Turkey’s approval.