Turkey to continue its Mediterranean drilling operations until end of August: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech in Ankara. (File photo: AFP)

Turkey will continue its drilling operations in the eastern Mediterranean until August 23, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

Erdogan said that the only solution to Turkey’s dispute with Greece over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean was through dialogue and negotiation, and Ankara was not chasing any “adventures” in the region.

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Speaking to members of his ruling AK Party, Erdogan said the escalation of tensions in the region was caused by Greece, and urged Athens to respect Turkey’s rights. “The path to a solution in the eastern Mediterranean is via dialogue and negotiation. We are not chasing any unnecessary adventures or seeking tensions,” he said.

A Turkish ship began carrying out a seismic survey in the eastern Mediterranean on Wednesday, Turkey’s Energy Minister Faith Donmaz was quoted as sayingin the Turkish newspaper Zaman.

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The operation comes amid ongoing tensions between Turkey and its neighbors over Ankara’s claims to energy rights in contested waters.

France will send two Rafale fighter jets and the naval frigate ‘Lafayette’ to the eastern Mediterranean as part of plans to increase its military presence in the region, the armed forces ministry had said earlier on Thursday.

Greece’s prime minister then issued a statement thanking France for its pledge to boost its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean, where Greek and Turkish warships are closely shadowing each other over a Turkish energy exploration bid in waters Athens claims as its own.

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.

(With Reuters)

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Last Update: Thursday, 13 August 2020 KSA 12:30 - GMT 09:30
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