Turkey will start drilling for oil and gas in the Mediterranean before the end of the summer, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said on Friday, according to Sabah newspaper.
"We are also making great efforts to ensure there is no letup in this momentum." Albayrak said, referring to Turkey's initiatives so far in the energy and mining sectors, according to Anadolu Agency.
Albayrak also said that the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) would be launched on June 12 with the expected attendance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, Anadolu reported.
TANAP's initial annual capacity will be 16 billion cubic meters, from which Turkey will withdraw 6 billion cubic meters while the remaining 10 billion cubic meters will be delivered to Europe, Anadolu said.
The son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Albayrak is believed to belonging to the president's close circle of advisors.
Italian energy giant ENI said last month it was committed to exploring for natural gas offshore Cyprus despite efforts by Turkey to block drilling earlier this year
Italian energy giant ENI said last month it was committed to exploring for natural gas offshore Cyprus despite efforts by Turkey to block drilling earlier this year.
In February, a drillship contracted by ENI to explore off the Mediterranean island, abandoned mission, after Turkish warships blocked its path to its target in Block 3 of Cyprus’ Economic Exclusive Zone.
When asked about ENI's next steps, Descalzi said: "Block 3 is there, it's not moving. It's there, there is no problem."
The standoff over exploiting energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean has further complicated stalled efforts to reunify Cyprus following the collapse of UN-brokered peace talks last year.
Brussels has also censured Turkey for its behaviour towards Nicosia's energy search.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of the island in response to a Greek military junta-sponsored coup.