Turkey planning to drill in disputed Mediterranean waters
June 10, 2020 - Turkey is planning to explore for oil and gas in areas of the Mediterranean Sea that Greece considers its own, setting the stage for a potential confrontation between the two NATO allies.
The Greek government has warned that any drilling in Greece’s continental shelf areas will spark a heated response.
No time frame was given for the drilling projects. But at least seven of them have been marked to take place just off the coast of some of Greece’s major islands, including Rhodes and Crete, according to U.S.-funded media outlet Voice of America (VOA).
While both are NATO allies, Greece and Turkey have long challenged each other’s sea and air rights in the oil and mineral-rich Aegean Sea.
But relations in recent months have suffered after Turkey clinched a controversial deal with Libya in November 2019.
The agreement effectively allows Turkey to explore and exploit the Mediterranean seabed for hundreds of kilometres, from its southwest coast to the northern tip of Libya, VOA said.
In recent years, the Eastern Mediterranean has yielded significant gas discoveries.
Since then Egypt, Greece, Israel and Cyprus have been jockeying for greater control of the region, leaving Turkey to search on its own, even if it may now spell a showdown with Greece.