Turkey’s research vessel Oruc Reis will lay 1,750 metres of cables for seismic surveys in region by August 23, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez has said.
Donmez posted a video on Twitter Tuesday night showing the work being done on the ship, writing “Mediterranean step by step”. The post also refers to the laying of the cables.
At the same time, statements by Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said there could be no hydrocarbons plan for the Mediterranean that did not include Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
He made the statements during a teleconference with the commanders and heads of the security forces.
According to Turkish media, in the teleconference, Akar said all measures had been taken to protect Turkey’s rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean and “no plan that will not include Turkey and the TRNC will be allowed to be carried out”.
The Turkish foreign ministry was reportedly briefed about the surveys being done by the Oruc Reis.
On Tuesday the European Commission said it stood in full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, as Ankara announced it would issue seismic exploration and drilling licences in new areas of the eastern Mediterranean by the end of August and continue its operations in the region.
The announcement came from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu amid tensions with Greece a day after Ankara dispatched its seismic vessel Oruc Reis to an area Greece says is within its continental shelf, south of the island of Megisti.
Nicosia said it was coordinating with Athens on the issue.
The Oruc Reis was dispatched to the area after Turkey issued a Navtex covering a marine area south of Antalya and west of Cyprus between August 10 and 23.
The vessel, which according to Greek media, entered the easternmost point of the Greek continental shelf on Monday, remained in the area on Tuesday. The vessel was escorted by auxiliary and Turkish Navy vessels while the situation is being monitored by the Greek Armed Forces.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said on Tuesday Turkey’s illegal seismic surveys off Greece and Cyprus were a blatant violation of the two countries’ sovereign rights.