Turkey could start drilling in Eastern Mediterranean this fall: Foreign minister Çavuşoğlu

Turkey could start drilling in Eastern Mediterranean this fall: Foreign minister Çavuşoğlu

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Sept. 3 that Turkey could start drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean this fall, as the country has already purchased a platform.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Kudret Özersay, Çavuşoğlu said the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has territorial waters and a continental shelf, which Turkey would take all measures to protect.

“Turkey has an economic area in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

The foreign minister also mentioned that Turkey had previously prevented the start of some drilling works in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Now, we have a platform and we can start drilling,” Çavuşoğlu said, noting that Ankara has discussed the issue with drilling companies and guarantor country Greece.

Çavuşoğlu added that he will also meet his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias on Sept. 4 in the Turkish province of İzmir and discuss the Cyprus issue.

He said if the Greek Cypriot side continues taking unilateral steps, Turkey will start drilling activities.

Özersay also reiterated that if Greek Cypriots continue unilateral drilling activities, Turkish Cypriots will also “start drilling soon” in accordance with the license it had already provided to Turkish Petroleum.

Turkey has repeatedly warned the Greek Cypriot administration about its unilateral hydrocarbon-related research in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have a right to the resources around the area.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.

After two years of negotiations, the most recent attempt to reunify the long-divided Mediterranean island ended in failure in 2017.