Turkey extends gas mission in eastern Med

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Turkey said Oct. 21 it would extend a gas exploration mission in the eastern Mediterranean that has raised hackles in neighboring Greece, defying warnings from Western countries.

The Oruç Reis research vessel had been scheduled to end its work on Oct. 22, but will now remain at sea until October 27, the Turkish navy said in a NAVTEX maritime announcement.

Oruç Reis has become the symbol of Ankara’s search for natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean, where discoveries of significant reserves in recent years has triggered a rush for the so-called “blue gold”.

Prospective fortunes to be made have reignited long-smoldering disputes over maritime borders between Turkey and Greece.

Athens says Ankara is breaking international law by prospecting in Greek waters, including near the island of Kastellorizo.

Turkey insists that it is within its rights in the energy-rich Mediterranean region, saying that the tiny island of Kastellorizo shouldn’t count for imposing Greek sovereignty.

Oruç Reis’ initial deployment in August sparked a weeks-long diplomatic crisis until the ship returned to port last month.

But last week it was sent out again.

Hurriyet Daily News

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