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Turkey temporarily suspends oil, gas exploration in East Med

July 29, 2020 at 3:45 pm

An aerial photo shows Turkish drill ship continuing offshore drilling operations in the Mediterranean Sea on 11 July 2019 [Turkish National Defence Ministry/Anadolu Agency]

The Turkish government officially announced that it will suspend oil and gas exploration off a Greek island amid tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, local television channel CNN Turk reports.

According to the news station, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan requested operations be put on hold, spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.

Last week, as part of the country’s hydrocarbon exploration activities, Turkey announced new seismic research activity in the Eastern Mediterranean via NAVTEX (navigational telex).

Greece issued a naval alert after Turkey announced it was sending a ship to carry out a drilling survey in waters close to one of its islands off Turkey’s south coast.

The Greek Foreign Ministry alleged that Turkish drill ship Oruc Reis had violated its rights in the Eastern Mediterranean continental shelf.

Meanwhile, Turkey rejected Greek plans of expanding its continental shelf through islets in the Aegean Sea and confining Turkey to the Anatolian peninsula in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

In June, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez said that Turkey has completed six drilling studies in the Eastern Mediterranean so far, while the Yavuz drilling vessel is conducting a seventh to the west of Cyprus.

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