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Turkey sends new drill ship to eastern Mediterranean

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Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inaugurated the country’s newest and largest undersea hydrocarbon drill ship on Tuesday and said it was heading northwest of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean.

Erdogan said the Abdülhamid Han drillship would operate 55km off Turkey’s coast in an area within the country’s sovereign territory.

“The survey and drilling work we are conducting in the Mediterranean are within our sovereign territory. We do not need to receive permission or consent from anyone for this,” he said at a ceremony to launch the ship in Turkey’s coastal Mersin province.

This is the first time since September 2020 when Turkey withdrew their Yavuz drill ship from contested waters, that the country will be sending a drill ship to the eastern Mediterranean.

News of the drilling late last month, prior to the precise location being known, was met with disapproval from Greek and Cypriot officials, with Cyprus’ Foreign Minister, Ioannis Kasoulides dubbing it “a crescendo of harsh and provocative rhetoric” from Ankara.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Erdogan made an apparent reference to Greece, Cyprus and their Western allies.

“Neither the puppets nor the ones who hold their strings will be able to prevent us from getting our rights in the Mediterranean,” he said.

Greek government spokesperson, Giannis Oikonomou told reporters on Tuesday that Athens is monitoring the situation carefully.

“We need to be vigilant … We’ve always been doing what we have to do to have stability in our region and to fully defend international law and our own sovereign rights,” Oikonomou said.

Turkey’s three other drilling ships: Fatih, Kanuni and Yavuz are currently conducting operations in the Black Sea where Turkey discovered natural gas reserves. All four ships are named after Ottoman sultans.

SOURCE: AP NEWS

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