Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday launched a new gas exploration campaign in the Mediterranean, specifying that it would be held off the Turkish coast and in its waters, thus avoiding any controversy with Greece and Cyprus. The previous drilling campaign in the eastern Mediterranean – an area potentially rich in natural gas – in the summer of 2020 had caused a series of incidents with Greece and, in October of the same year, with Cyprus.
“The drilling will be done (in the waters) under our jurisdiction. We don’t need anyone’s permission,” assured the Head of State, celebrating the departure of the Abduhamid Han, a new offshore drilling vessel, from the port of Mersin (south) for a two-day mission. month.
Erdogan took care to specify the destination of the ship: “Our boat will go to Yorukler No. 1 deposit 55 kilometers off Gazipasa”, a port located 180 kilometers east of Antalya. “Our boat will not stop (elsewhere), it will not go to other wells”, he hammered.
During the previous drilling campaign, Ankara had deployed seismic boats, escorted by warships, a maneuver sharply condemned by the European Union. Especially since Turkey disputes the maritime borders in the Mediterranean with Greece and Cyprus, fixed after the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire.
The Abdulhamid Han boat “is the symbol of this new Turkish energy policy”: “Now, with our fourth drilling boat and two seismic vessels, we have entered the game,” insisted Erdogan.
According to the Turkish head of state, Turkey’s gas bill is expected to reach $100 billion in 2022. “The faster we can increase our gas and oil resources, which have become weapons in times of global economic crisis, the best benefit we can derive from it by reducing our energy dependence and our budget deficit”.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced on Tuesday that an “invited” Turkish delegation will travel to the United States next week to continue negotiations on the contract for F-16 fighter jets, partly paid for and never delivered.