Turkey to license new Mediterranean areas August

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart at the Kremlin in Moscow on April 8, 2019. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV - AFP)

Turkey will 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.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made the disclosure on Tuesday, amid tensions with Greece.

NATO allies – Turkey and Greece – are at odds over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

On Monday, Turkey sent its Oruc Reis vessel to conduct a seismic survey in a disputed area, in a move Greece said was illegal.

A similar dispute in July was calmed after German Chancellor Angela Merkel intervened, leading Turkey to pause its operations.

Recently, President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had resumed work after Greece announced a maritime deal with Egypt.

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At a news conference in Ankara, Cavusoglu said Turkey would issue new licences for operations near the western borders of its continental shelf and continue “all sorts of seismic and drilling operations” in the area.

“Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias will request an emergency meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council,’’ the prime minister’s office said.

The European Commission said it stood in full solidarity with EU members – Greece and Cyprus – and called for dialogue over the eastern Mediterranean dispute.

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