Turkey announces second drill to operate in the Mediterranean

Turkey’s second drilling platform is set to begin work in search of oil and gas in January in the Mediterranean and not the Black Sea, as previously announced, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu said on Wednesday.

The drill will operate inside Turkey's Esclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and not in the area of Northern Cyrpus in order to avoid ‘’crowding,’’ Greek newspaper Kathimerini quoted the Turkish foreign minister as saying.

Turkey, the only country to recognize North Cyprus on the divided island, has promised to stop what it sees as unilateral moves by the Greek side of the disputed island to exploit the potentially rich waters amid an ongoing standoff over hydrocarbons rights in the eastern Mediterranean. 

The Turkish foreign minister said that tensions with Greece over the Aegean flare up from time to time, noting that Ankara is attempting to put relations with Athens on a positive path, despite the fact that Greece has ‘’not deported the Gülenists.’’

Ankara accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt and has since pursued a world wide crackdown on the group, including in neighbouring Greece where over 5000 Gülenists have sought asylum. 

Turkish officials have accused Greece of  becoming a “haven” for coup plotters after resisting Turkish demands for their extradition.

 The Turkish foreign minister also noted that Ankara is not opposed drilling within Cyprus' EEZ, but wants to make sure that the Turkish Cypriot community in the north of the island are guaranteed both the rights on income from oil and natural gas.

Ankara has stressed that the Greek Cypriot EEZ infringes on Turkey's own continental shelf and exploitation of energy resources around the island would amount to violating the rights of Turkish Cypriots, who have controlled Northern Cyprus since the island was divided in 1974.