“We will not allow the rights of Turkish Cypriots to benefit from hydrocarbons in the East Mediterranean to be violated,” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
According to Sky Greece, he made the comments in reference to the search for hydrocarbons in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
He said Turkey is determined to protect the rights of those in the eastern Mediterranean.
“As the Greek Cypriot side ignores the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and continues its aggressive policy, so we will continue to take the necessary measures,” Erdogan said during G20 meetings in Buenos Aires.
At the beginning of the week Erdogan has threatened Athens and Nicosia that ultimately staking claims to the Mediterranean would involve risks for themselves.
Turkey has long objected to Cyprus drilling for gas and its claims on the island’s EEZ partly overlap with Cyprus’ blocks 1, 4, 6 and 7. Ankara also supports the north’s claims on blocks 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 12 and 13, including within few kilometres from the Aphrodite gas field in block 12.
The Stena Icemax drillship leased by ExxonMobil is currently drilling at the Delphine location in Block 10. It is expected to last around two months before the rig will move to either the ‘Glafkos’ or ‘Anthea’ target depending on the findings of the first drilling in Delphine.
Following the start of the drilling a Turkish seismographic research vessel entered plot 4, accompanied by Turkish warships.
In February Italian energy firm ENI’s Saipem 12000 drillship was forced to change course after being intercepted by five Turkish navy vessels and threatened with the use of force while attempting to reach offshore block 3 to drill an exploratory gas well.