Turkey com­mit­ted to de­fend­ing rights in Med, main­tain­ing hy­dro­car­bon ex­plo­rations

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Business -

TURKEY will con­tinue ef­forts to de­fend its sov­er­eign rights in the Eastern Mediter­ranean and pro­mote the coun­try’s po­si­tion as a key en­ergy player in the highly con­tested re­gion and will not al­low any vi­o­la­tion of these rights. “Turkey will not al­low any fait ac­com­pli re­gard­ing the hy­dro­car­bon re­sources in the Mediter­ranean,” En­ergy and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Fatih Dön­mez said Fri­day.

“We do not want to es­ca­late any ten­sion in the Mediter­ranean and will con­tinue our ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties in the re­gion,” the min­is­ter said and added, “We do not eye any other coun­try’s re­sources, but we do not also tol­er­ate any in­ter­ven­tion in our op­er­a­tions. We will de­fend the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypri­ots in the Mediter­ranean,” added Dön­mez.

Turkey’s first drill­ship, Fatih, named af­ter Is­tan­bul’s con­queror Ot­toman Sul­tan Fatih Sul­tan Mehmet, launched well-drilling op­er­a­tions on Oct. 30. The 229-me­ter ves­sel is ca­pa­ble of drilling to a max­i­mum depth of 12,192 me­ters. The first well is planned to reach a depth of 5,500 me­ters.

Turkey is also plan­ning to add a sec­ond drilling ves­sel to its fleet. It will se­cure Turkey’s rights in the Mediter­ranean as per in­ter­na­tional law. “The new drill­ship will carry out op­er­a­tions in the Black Sea,” Min­is­ter Dön­mez an­nounced.

The coun­try’s first seis­mic ves­sel, Bar­baros Hayret­tin Paşa, which was bought from Nor­way in 2013, has been con­duct­ing ex­plo­ration op­er­a­tions in the Mediter­ranean since April 2017. As a re­sult of the anal­y­sis of seis­mic data, Dön­mez said, the de­ci­sion to drill the first well was made.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Turkey’s sec­ond ves­sel, the MTA Oruç Reis, which Turk- ish en­gi­neers built at a lo­cal ship­yard in Is­tan­bul in June, is un­der­tak­ing ex­plo­ration work in the Black Sea.

Min­is­ter Dön­mez high­lighted that the mu­tual re­spect of rights and in­ter­na­tional law con­sti­tutes the foun­da­tion of Turkey’s gov­er­nance par­a­digm. “Turkey has taken all steps within the frame­work of law, and the coun­try will take all the nec­es­sary mea­sures to ward off any act that vi­o­lates its own rights,” the min­is­ter said.

Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras in an in­ter­view on Alfa TV late Thurs­day called on Turkey to re­solve the mar­itime dis­pute in the Mediter­ranean. “Turkey is an ef­fec­tive and crit­i­cal power. Greece has cre­ated the con­di­tions to cre­ate an en­ergy map of the Eastern Mediter­ranean to­gether with other coun­tries,” Tsipras said. The Greek prime min­is­ter stressed that Turkey must make a de­ci­sion re­gard­ing the sta­tus of the re­sources in the re­gion.

The plan to grad­u­ally ex­tend Greece’s ter­ri­to­rial waters from 6 miles to 12 miles in the Io­nian Sea was re­ceived as a ca­sus belli by Turkey in late Oc­to­ber. With re­gards to the is­sue, Greek Prime Min­is­ter Tsipras said, “This is not a new is­sue, we will seek pro­tec­tion [of] our rights.” Re­cently, Tsipras de­cided to skip the op­tion of pres­i­den­tial de­crees and seek the ap­proval of the par­lia­ment to en­sure broader po­lit­i­cal con­sent on the ex­ten­sion of Greece’s ter­ri­to­rial waters.

Ac­cord­ing to the orig­i­nal plans, as re­vealed by for­mer For­eign Min­is­ter Nikos Kotzias, the ex­ten­sion would take place through pres­i­den­tial de­crees. But Tsipras seems to be tar­get­ing a broader po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus and there­fore will take the is­sue to the par­lia­ment with the rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion.

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