29 Ekim 2020

Turkey extends work of Oruç Reis vessel through Aug 27

Turkey said on Aug. 23 that its Oruç Reis exploration vessel will now carry out seismic surveys in a disputed part of the eastern Mediterranean until Aug. 27.

Earlier this month, Turkey said the Oruç Reis would conduct seismic exploration until Aug. 23 in waters claimed by Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Athens has called the survey illegal. 

On Aug. 23, the Turkish navy issued a new advisory saying that the work of the Oruç Reis and two other vessels, the Ataman and Cengiz Han, would continue until Aug. 27. 

Seismic surveys are part of preparatory work for potential hydrocarbon exploration. Turkey and Greece are also at odds over issues such as overflights in the Aegean Sea and the ethnically divided island of Cyprus.

Turkey has resumed energy exploration earlier this month in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal.

The agreement came days after Ankara said it would postpone its oil and gas exploration as a goodwill gesture.

But, after declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void,” Turkey authorized the Oruç Reis to continue its activities in an area within Turkey’s continental shelf.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean.

Ankara has also said energy resources near Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – which has issued Turkish Petroleum a license – and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

Erdoğan has said the only solution to the dispute was through dialogue and negotiation, urging Athens to respect Turkey’s rights.

Turkey has also been exploring for hydrocarbon resources in the Black Sea. On Aug. 21, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the discovery of a 320 billion cubic metre (11.3 trillion cubic feet) gas field, the largest such find in Turkish history. 

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