This article was published in LOGI's June 2020 newsletter in partnership with Kulluna Irada.
Turkey will begin drilling in maritime areas it has recently gained access to under a November pact with the UN-recognized Libyan government within “three to four months,” Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said.
The assertive move by Turkey comes at a time when much East Med drilling has been put on hold or lies in uncertain waters due to the disastrous effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on international oil and gas markets.
Donmez said that Turkey had applied to drill in seven licensed areas under the Libya pact, marking the latest move by an increasingly forceful Ankara. Turkey has looked to impose a fait-accompli in the East Med by exploring for hydrocarbons in large swathes of maritime territory, including around a breakaway nation of Northern Cyprus which is recognized only by Turkey.
Greece, Cyprus and the European Union have said the Turkey-Libya deal is Illegal. Cyprus, backed by Greece, Israel and the EU, have countered Turkey’s unilateral attempts to drill around Cyprus with increased military cooperation and harsh rhetoric, though Turkey has not relented.
Cyprus has also called for EU naval presence around its waters to counter the Turkish presence.
Greece, Israel and Cyprus have meanwhile continued to push forward plans for a multi-billion dollar pipeline to take their gas to Europe and counter both Turkish and Russian influence, though the project is seen as unrealistic by many observers due to its high cost.
Photo Credits: dailysabah.com