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25 September, 2023
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Turkey intends to drill south of the island of Crete

Erdogan says Turkey will work with third countries such as Libya to extract and jointly sell hydrocarbons to other countries

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday announced Turkey’s plans to drill for hydrocarbons – oil and natural gas – in its maritime zone, as well as on land and sea in third countries.

“We have the capacity to go with our ships to third countries that possess natural gas reserves to drill, get the gas and jointly sell it to other countries. We have requests from several countries. Libya is first in line, they tell us that we can cooperate in this way,” Erdogan said in an interview on A Haber TV.

“If we had inflation running at 85% in Greece, I would also be trying to change the subject,” -Mitsotakis

Last month Turkey signed an exploration agreement with the Tripoli-based Libyan government, which does not control the whole country. The deal, based on a Turkish-Libyan maritime zone delimitation agreement that ignores the presence of Egypt and Greece in between the two non-neighboring countries, has been denounced by Greece and Egypt, as well as Libya’s own parliament, based in the eastern city of Benghazi, which is in open conflict with the government. The United States and the United Nations have both pointed out that the Libyan government does not possess the legitimacy to sign such deals, which may also infringe upon the rights of other countries.

Greece is warily eyeing Turkey’s intentions to drill south of the island of Crete, in areas that form part of Greece’s exclusive economic zone. Turkey’s argument about the legality of its agreements with Libya is based on its claim, not shared by other countries, that islands can have neither a continental shelf nor an exclusive economic zone.

While Erdogan took a rare break from verbally attacking Greece, his defense minister, Hulusi Akar, claimed Thursday, speaking at a defense forum, that “it is Greece itself that is expansionist,” although he also said he was always ready for a dialogue.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took a dig at Ankara over its recent aggressive stance toward Greece on Thursday, indicating that the Turkish government is seeking to deflect attention away from the country’s economic woes.

“If we had inflation running at 85% in Greece, I would also be trying to change the subject,” Mitsotakis said in comments after the conclusion of the Berlin Process Summit for the Western Balkans. “If I responded to the statements of Turkish officials every time they provoked Greece, I don’t think I’d be doing anything else,” he added.

Cyprus  |  Greece  |  Turkey

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