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Erdogan wants own oil platform in East Med

By Staff Reporter

TURKEY intends to press ahead with exploring for hydrocarbons in the eastern Med by acquiring its own drilling platform, Turkish media reported on Wednesday.

According to daily Sabah, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan informed the country’s National Security Council of plans to either purchase a platform or, if need be, manufacture one.

The platform, with a $1.5bn price tag, would be purchased by Turkish state company TPAO, Erdogan was cited as saying.

The Turkish leader reportedly outlined to the National Security Council his government’s plans to “protect Turkey’s interests in the eastern Mediterranean,” adding that “all means” would be mobilised to safeguard these interests.

“With our exploration ship we have covered a considerable distance. Let us now take the necessary next step by acquiring a drilling platform as well,” Erdogan reportedly said.

By having its own platform, Turkey would no longer need the consent of oil and gas majors to pursue hydrocarbons explorations in the eastern Mediterranean, he added.

Erdogan had previously made repeated noises about Turkey’s energy aspirations, although these latest remarks were more explicit with regard to Cyprus.

In December, the Turkish leader had said his country planned to carry out its own oil explorations by domestic-made seismic vessels and oil platforms, and said the first vessel would be launched into the sea in one month.

At the time, however, he specified that drilling operations would take place in the western Black Sea region.

Although Erdogan then said Ankara that would press on with its surveys in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), he had made no mention of drilling operations or deploying platforms to Cypriot waters.

Ankara does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus nor its jurisdiction over the EEZ, and says Nicosia cannot prospect for oil and gas “unilaterally” without including Turkish Cypriots in the process.

Peace talks on the island have been suspended since Ankara deployed a seismic research vessel to survey parts of the EEZ on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots.

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