Turkey ‘to explore hydrocarbon resources in EEZ over Libya deal’

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Turkish authorities have made parceling of the economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean under a deal sealed with Libya, and Ankara is getting ready for drilling activities in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on June 3.

Turkey’s position in the eastern Mediterranean and the deals made with Libya has two objectives, the minister said in an interview with private broadcaster 24 TV.

“Firstly, to preserve the rights of Turkish Cypriots and secondly to protect our interests in our continental shelf,” he said, emphasizing the maritime boundary delimitation agreement with Libya aims this.

Turkey aims for cooperation with others in the eastern Mediterranean, the minister also underlined. Turkish and Greek Cypriots should first agree to reach this understanding of cooperation, Çavuşoğlu stated.

The minister recalled that the maritime delimitation area on the side of Turkey is subject to the current plans of drillings activities and the coordinates of this area respect six miles distance from the Greek Islands.

On Ankara’s drilling vessels working in the eastern Mediterranean, the minister said Turkish activities in the region are in line with international law.

Çavuşoğlu also stressed that any agreement on the eastern Mediterranean without Turkish participation would be “null and void” and Ankara would not allow any fait accompli.

“They tried to exclude us. We’re saying that no deal and cooperation will be valid and will yield no result if Turkey is not included,” he said.

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.

Turkey and Libya’s U.N.-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 northeastern coast and protects rights to resources.

Çağatay Erciyes, director-general for Bilateral Political and Maritime-Aviation-Border Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, shared maps on his Twitter account displaying the boundaries Turkey’s exclusive economic zone coordinates in the eastern Mediterranean over the deal with Libya registered to the United Nations and stated that the upcoming exploration of hydrocarbon resources will take place in this region.

“Turkish Petroleum’s recent request for new off-shore survey and exploitation licenses cover areas within these boundaries,” Erciyes said.

Meanwhile, a National Security Council statement on June 2 also reiterated Turkey’s determination to protect its interests in the eastern Mediterranean.

“The negative approaches of some actors, who have come together around the common denominator of animosity towards Turkey, to the legitimate and legal steps Turkey takes in the Mediterranean were evaluated,” the council said in the statement after a meeting.

Turkey’s rights, relations and interests on land, at sea and in the air will continue to be protected without any concessions, read the statement.

Turkey is a guarantor nation for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the Turkish Cyprus also has rights to the resources in the area.

In 1974, following a coup aimed at the annexation of Cyprus by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, Turkish Cyprus was founded.

Hurriyet Daily News

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