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Turkish president announces more gas reserves found in Black Sea

December 27, 2022 at 1:10 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey on 28 June 2022 [Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye’s president on Monday announced the discovery of an additional 58 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Black Sea.

“Our drill ship Fatih has explored 58 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, 3,023 meters under the sea, at the Caycuma 1 block,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following a Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara.

Stressing that Turkiye’s natural gas reserve in the Black Sea totals 710 billion cubic meters (25 trillion cubic feet) with a market value of $1 trillion, Erdogan said the country’s ultimate goal is to declare energy independence from foreign oil and natural gas as soon as possible.

“Our new exploration will pave the way for similar explorations in other geological fields adjacent to the region. We will launch new drilling as soon as possible,” Erdogan added.

On the country’s counterterrorism efforts, Erdogan announced that Turkiye “will close the gaps in our 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) deep security line and take new steps to completely eliminate the threats posed by (terrorist groups in) Syria to our country.”

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“We will enter a new phase of struggle that will destroy the entire infrastructure and resources of the terrorist group (PKK and YPG/PKK), which it receives strength from, as well as its armed capacity,” he said.

Border protection, defense industry growth

Noting that Turkiye increased the number of its counterterrorism operations to 124, Erdogan said nearly 9,800 terrorist hideouts were destroyed over the past year.

The Turkish president stressed that the recently launched Claw operations have secured Turkiye’s “border in northern Iraq, which the terrorist group has been using for years to infiltrate our lands.”

“In order to protect our land borders, we have put in place all means of technology, manpower, as well as physical barriers,” he said, adding that at least 5.4 million square meters of land along Turkiye’s border regions have been regained for the country’s economy after clearing them from mines.

The PKK and its Syrian branch the YPG/PKK have used terrorist bases across Turkiye’s border in northern Iraq and northern Syria to plot and carry out attacks on Turkiye. Along the Syrian border, the group has worked to create a terrorist corridor along the border, threatening both Syrian locals and nearby Turkish residents.

Turkiye launched Operation Claw-Lock in April to target the terrorist group PKK’s hideouts in the Metina, Zap, and Avasin-Basyan regions of northern Iraq, located near the Turkish border.

It was preceded by two operations – Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle – launched in 2020 to root out terrorists hiding out in northern Iraq and plotting cross-border attacks in Turkiye.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

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Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019). Turkish officials have suggested another such operation is coming.

On the progress of the country’s defense industry, Erdogan said Turkiye has now become a country that designs and manufactures defense products not only for itself but also for others.

“With our ever-growing exports, we have become a country that has made a mark with the products of our defense industry sector all over the world,” he said, adding that he hopes to further strengthen Turkiye’s position through projects commissioned next year.