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Turkey resumes its hydrocarbon explorations off the Greek island of Kastellorizo



           


Oruç Reis resumes service despite threats of sanctions from the European Union (photo: DR)
Oruç Reis resumes service despite threats of sanctions from the European Union (photo: DR)
TURKEY. After a gesture of appeasement with the withdrawal of the Oruç Reis from the disputed waters of the Eastern Mediterranean in September 2020, Turkey has decided to put this hydrocarbon exploration vessel back into service in the same area. The Turkish navy announced on Sunday 11 October 2020 that it will resume its activities from 12 to 20 October 2020, including off the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

Two other vessels (Ataman and Cengiz Han) will join it to carry out seismic surveys.

Athens and the European Union are opposed to these hydrocarbon explorations, which are being conducted by military vessels. They were carried out by Ankara from July to mid-September 2020, in search of natural gas in waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus.

During the Med7 Summit on 17 September 2020, followed by a European Council dedicated to this dispute organised on 1 and 2 October 2020, the EU once again threatened Turkey with sanctions. Its president, Charles Michel, wanted to be firm on stopping illegal drilling, while leaving the door open. In a communiqué, the European heads of state and government stated that "a stable and secure environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and the establishment of cooperative and mutually beneficial relations with Turkey are in the EU's strategic interest".

At the end of September 2020, Greece and Turkey had agreed to conduct negotiations under the mediation of Germany, but without setting a date.

 


Frédéric Dubessy


Monday, October 12th 2020



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