A Turkish ship has begun carrying out a seismic survey in the eastern Mediterranean, said Turkey’s Energy Minister Faith Donmaz quoted in the Turkish newspaper Zaman on Wednesday, amid ongoing tensions between Turkey and its neighbors over Ankara’s claims to energy rights in contested waters.
Turkey claims energy exploration rights over vast swathes of the eastern Mediterranean and announced on Monday that the Turkish ship Oruc Reis would be conducting a seismic survey to find possible oil and gas drilling opportunities.
According to the minister Donmaz in Zaman, the Oruc Reis has now begun its survey, despite protests from Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, the EU, and others who reject Turkey’s claims.
“We have started drilling work again,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, adding “I don’t think we are obligated to talk to those who do not have rights in the areas of maritime powers.”
Greece and Turkey both claim overlapping coastal areas and are also at odds over the island of Cyprus, where Turkey is the only country to recognize the ethnically Turkish Republic of North Cyprus.
The tensions have escalated in recent days despite both Turkey and Greece being NATO members, with Turkish media alleging that a Greek ship had injured three Turkish civilians.
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