Cyprus has accused Turkey of violating international law by launching operations off the island in search of oil and gas.

Earlier today, Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay was quoted as saying the drilling ship Fatih had started operations off the north-north-east coast of Cyprus.

On Monday, the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted a framework for restrictive measures against Turkey over its drilling activities around Cyprus.

"The fact that these new illegal actions of Turkey were announced on the same day that a new framework of EU sanctions took effect - is a display of extreme and provocative contempt towards international and European law," the Cypriot presidency said in a statement.

Cyprus, an EU member, was divided in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.

Its internationally recognised government first discovered offshore gas in 2011. Turkey says that some areas Cyprus operates in are either on the Turkish continental shelf, or in areas where the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state has rights over any finds.