In what was seen as a warning aimed at Greece, Cyprus and the US, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged all parties engaging in gas exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean not to pressure it over Ankara’s own energy plans in the region.
“On this issue, we tell our friends: Don’t push us, don’t press us,” he was quoted by Turkish media as saying on his way back to Ankara from a visit to France.
Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s intention to keep exploring for gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea in the same “decisive manner,” and referred to “conflicting interests” in the region due to the cooperation between Cyprus and US energy giant ExxonMobil.
He said Turkey is deploying two research vessels and two drillships – divided between the East Med and the Black Sea – and that Ankara has taken “all the necessary measures for their safety.”
Erdogan’s remarks follow the arrival on Sunday of a drillship of the ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum consortium in Block 10 of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone which is expected to start drilling in the next two days.