Turkey announces resuming eastern Mediterranean energy search

Turkey announces resuming eastern Mediterranean energy search, increasing tensions with Greece
2 min read
Turkey announced its intention to search for energy in the eastern Mediterranean, despite conflict with Greece in the past.
This move is likely to increase tensions between Turkey and Greece [Getty]

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Friday that Turkey has restarted a search for energy in the eastern Mediterranean, accusing neighbouring Greece of failing to keep its promises.

"We have resumed the drilling activity. We have sent (the vessel) Barbaros Hayrettin to the area," Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers at Istanbul's landmark Hagia Sophia mosque.

Last month, Turkey said it had agreed to suspend "for a while" a search for oil and gas off a Greek island depending on the outcome of negotiations with Greece and EU heavyweight Germany.

"They haven't kept their promises," Erdogan said.

The search for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean has become a thorn in the relations between Turkey and the EU.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for Turkey to be "sanctioned" and accused Ankara of treading on the rights of Greece and Cyprus, as all three nations scramble to exploit recently discovered gas reserves.

Read more: Iraqi Kurdistan fears entanglement in Turkey-UAE cold war

Ankara has said it is ready to negotiate with Athens without any preconditions.

Erdogan's comments come a day after Greece and Egypt signed an agreement to set up an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean.

"This agreement has no value," the Turkish leader said.

Turkey last year signed a deal with the UN-recognised government in Libya on maritime jurisdiction, with several countries accusing Ankara of trying to assert its dominance in the region.

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