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Turkey will not allow other countries to drill for gas in Turkish or northern Cyprus waters in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Sunday, as both Turkey and Cyprus are getting ready to drill in the area where the countries have overlapping claims of maritime territories.
“We will not accept attempts to extract natural resources in our country, Cyprus or in the eastern Mediterranean,” Reuters quoted Erdogan as saying on Sunday, days after Turkey sent a ship to begin drilling for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey, which recognizes the northern Turkish Cypriot government and doesn’t have diplomatic relations with the internationally recognized government of Cyprus, claims that part of the Cyprus offshore area falls under the jurisdiction of Turkish Cypriots or Turkey.
Countries that believed they could operate in the Aegean Sea or in the eastern Mediterranean without Turkey’s consent are mistaken, Erdogan said on Sunday.
At the beginning of October, ExxonMobil said that it planned to begin drilling for oil and gas offshore Cyprus sometime this quarter, while Turkey warned against exploration offshore Cyprus in what it says is ignoring the rights of the Turkish Cypriot people.
Then two weeks ago, Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the “Turkish Antalya station issued an illegal NAVTEX to the effect that the ship ‘Barbaros’ would be conducting seismic research on a segment of the Greek continental shelf.”
“This new provocation on the part of Turkey, demonstrates that it continues to act in a way that causes tension in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean,” Greece said on October 17.
To this, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry replied on October 18 that “The insistence of Greece on its unrealistic claims will only be counter-productive and harmful as regards bilateral relations and regional stability.”
“Turkey will continue to exercise its sovereign rights and jurisdiction stemming from international law over its continental shelf. In this regard, we recommend Greece to abstain from the acts that would cause an escalation in the region.”
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.