Erdogan says Turkey to continue exploration in Mediterranean

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that the country would continue to conduct explorations “not only in the Mediterranean Sea but also in the Black Sea and even in international waters.”

In a televised interview with the state-run TRT broadcaster, Erdogan noted that Turkey is considering procuring another drilling ship for that purpose.

Currently, Turkey has two drilling ships and two seismic exploration vessels, which are carrying out hydrocarbon exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, a move that has sparked sanctions by the European Union.

Erdogan also said Turkey and Libya could carry out joint explorations in the eastern Mediterranean in line with the deal they signed on maritime boundaries.

On Nov. 27, Turkey inked a memorandum of understanding with the internationally recognized government of Libya, which delimits maritime zones in the eastern Mediterranean and reaffirms the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots in the sea.

The agreement is seen as an attempt to block further Greek and Cypriot drilling activities in the Mediterranean, as Ankara and Athens have been wrestling with each other over drilling activities in the sea and the Cyprus issue.

Greece asked the Libyan ambassador to leave in response to the Turkish-Libyan deal.

Erdogan told the TRT that under the deal, other international actors cannot conduct exploration activities within areas marked by Turkey without its approval.

“Greek Cypriots, Egypt, Greece and Israel cannot install natural gas transmission line without the consent of Turkey,” he said adding that by signing the deal, Ankara has shown the world its determination to protect its rights under the international law.