Britain to soon deliver new drill ships to Turkey, says Turkish energy minister

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Monday that Britain was set to deliver a new drill ship to Turkey within weeks, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The ship will set sail in the coming days, after port procedures are completed, and will arrive in Turkey “within a few weeks”, the minister told reporters during an energy conference. It will bring to three the number of drill ships that Turkey has.

Turkey may send the new ship to the Black Sea to resume hydrocarbon exploration there, or respond to requests for technical services from allied countries, the minister said, but it was “highly probable that the ship will work in the Mediterranean”.

Turkey is currently exploring for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean with two seismic research and two drilling vessels. The country has clarified its area of authority in the eastern Mediterranean, the minister said, with a maritime accord signed with the United Nations-recognised government in the Libyan capital Tripoli in November last year.
Greece and Cyprus say Turkey’s deal with Libya violates their territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. French Defence Minister Florence Parly said on Sunday the deal had no legal value and was a danger to security in the area.  

Dönmez said the accord complied with international maritime law. He said the EastMed Pipeline project proposed by Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Israel to take gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe had “no economic equivalency or legal basis”.

Speaking at the same meeting, the energy minister for the breakaway Turkish-Cypriot government, Hasan Taçoy, said the most rational route for sending natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean to markets in Europe was through Turkey. “As such, any steps to be taken must be approved by (Turkey). We stand strong against the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral steps,” he said.

The “spoiled children of Europe”, Taçoy said, referring to EU states, were attempting to take what he called unilateral steps with the United States, France, Israel, Egypt and Greece. 

“It must be clearly stated that steps taken in the eastern Mediterranean will not prevail without Turkey,” Taçoy said.