Ankara has been engaged in a row with Greece over drilling in the Mediterranean since the research vessel Oruc Reis launched drilling ops to the south of Antalya and west of Cyprus in maritime territories claimed by Greece.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday announced that his country had discovered an enormous natural gas source – over 320 billion cubic metres of gas in the Black Sea.
“Now I want to share our good news with you: Turkey has realised the biggest natural gas finding of its history in the Black Sea”, he said.
© AP PHOTO / LEFTERIS PITARAKIS
In this Thursday, June 20, 2019 file photo, Turkey’s 230-meter (750-foot) drillship ‘Yavuz’ escorted by a Turkish Navy vessel, crosses the Marmara Sea on its way to the Mediterranean, from the port of Dilovasi, outside Istanbul
According to him, the find also means there is a high possibility of other natural gas sources in the area.
Erdogan added that Ankara is aiming to provide the Black Sea gas for use in 2023, and promising to accelerate Turkish operations in the Mediterranean, claiming he will not stop until the nation is a net exporter of energy.
Confrontation Over Resources
Ankara previously collided with Athens amid a Mediterranean gas row, as both claimed the same territories in the sea for gas exploration. Erdogan said that his country’s surveying ship Oruc Reis will continue explorations in the eastern Mediterranean until 23 August. Later in the week, reports suggested that the Greek naval frigate Limnos and the Turkish frigate Kemalreis (F-247) “touched” each other in close proximity to the Oruc Reis.
In response, Brussels urged the Turkish government to halt its drilling activities in the area, as the EU is ready to impose sanctions on the country.
Turkey also explored resources near Cyprus, engaging in a conflict with the island nation, as it considers the area to be a part of its exclusive economic zone. The Turkish government claimed that the resources should be shared and that it acts on behalf of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – a breakaway part of the island only recognised by Ankara.