Turkey to Continue Drilling for Oil, Gas in ‘Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, and All Those Seas’

In March the EU offered a string of incentives to convince President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to make good on pledges to mend fraught relations amid Turkish drilling operations near the divided island of Cyprus, the search for natural gas in disputed eastern Mediterranean waters, and the migrant issue.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan has said that his country will continue exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean, reported Reuters.

Turkey had been receiving “signals of natural gas” in the region and every effort will be made to defend its rights in the region, according to Erdogan.

The fresh comments are likely to inflame tensions with the European Union and Greece over the contentious issue, just as Ankara resumed direct talks with Athens this year after a five-year hiatus.

​Two rounds of talks have been held since January, without any significant results.

Frayed Turkish-Greek Ties

Relations between Turkey and Greece have been frayed due to competing ambitions and gas reserve claims in the region. Athens accuses Ankara of violating international rules in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean due to its natural gas drilling, while Turkey maintains that it has every right to drill.

Furthermore, Brussels and Ankara disagree over the divided island of Cyprus – a British colony until 1960 when it was granted independence. In 1974 a Greek nationalist clique took over and threatened the Turkish Cypriot minority, leading to Turkey sending in…

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