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Turkey to drill for natural resources in the Mediterranean sea next month

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Political and military tensions with Greece and Cyprus over exploration rights are set to be inflamed with Turkish Vice President, Fuat Oktay announcing that Turkey is planning to drill for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean next month.

During his speech at a military parade marking the anniversary of the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in Nicosia, Oktay said that the nation’s newly purchased and fourth drilling ship, Abdülhamid Han, will start operations, saying this is well within Ankara’s rights.

Turkey’s acrobatic aircrafts fly in front of the giant Turkish flag reading in Turkish “How Happy is the one who says I am Turk” during the military parade in the Turkish-occupied area of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus on Wednesday. Photo: AP / Petros Karadjias.

“We are resolutely defending our rights, as well as the rights and interests of our Turkish Cypriot brothers and sisters in the Eastern Mediterranean against any provocation and illegal actions,” he said.

“Hydrocarbon resources in the Mediterranean are not the toys of Greek Cypriots.”

Ankara maintains that the area is part of its continental shelf and the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has a right to a share in the hydrocarbon reserves off Cyprus.

The Turkish Vice President said “international law is clear” and that any attempt to exclude Turkey and the TRNC in the eastern Mediterranean “has not and will not succeed.”

Turkey has in the past dispatched warship-escorted drill and survey ships inside the economic zones of Greece and Cyprus, infuriating Greek and Cypriot governments whilst facing strong condemnation by the European Union.

Turkish-flagged drill ship carrying on offshore drilling operations in Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea on 11 July 2019. Photo: Turkish National Defence Ministry.

SOURCE: Ekathimerini

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