Turkey vows to continue drillings activities in eastern Mediterranean

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In this Tuesday, July 9, 2019 photo, a helicopter flies over Turkey's drilling ship, 'Fatih' dispatched towards the eastern Mediterranean, near Cyprus. Turkish officials say the drillships Fatih and Yavuz will drill for gas, which has prompted protests from Cyprus. (Turkish Defence Ministry via AP, Pool)

Turkey is “determined” to use its sovereign rights in the eastern Mediterranean, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said on June 2 after the Greek foreign minister said a Turkish attempt to start drilling for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean was “a new provocation.”

“The new license areas, which Turkey applied to perform oil drilling operations, are within the boundaries of the continental shelf that our country notified to the U.N.,” Aksoy said in a written statement.

“Our country will resolutely continue to exercise its sovereign rights in this field, which it has announced many times,” he stated.

He reiterated Turkey’s determination to protect the interests of Ankara and Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean.

“In this framework, our seismic research and drilling activities are carried out according to the previously determined program,” Aksoy noted.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on June 1 that Turkey’s demand to carry out explorations in the region is an attempt “to usurp the sovereign rights of Greece.”

“Turkey’s illegal actions… cannot match Greek sovereignty based on international law and maritime law,” said Dendias noting that his country “is prepared to face this new provocation if Turkey finally puts it into effect.”

Turkey may begin oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean within three or four months under a deal it signed with Libya that was condemned by others in the region including Greece, Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on May 29.

Turkey’s new Kanuni drillship will also go to the Mediterranean later this year, he added.

Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) signed the maritime delimitation deal last year. Turkey says it creates an exclusive economic zone from its southern coast to Libya’s northeast coast and protects rights to resources.

Hurriyet Daily News

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