Turkey plays politics with drillship’s sailing

Turkey plays politics with drillship’s sailing

The Abdulhamid Han, Turkey’s newest drilling vessel, will begin its first so-called research trip on August 9 from the country’s southern port of Mersin.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself will announce the drilling vessel’s destination in a ceremony before the sailing. But it is no secret the ship will drill for oil and natural gas reserves north of Cyprus.

This is less a research project and more a part of Turkey’s strategy to dispute Cyprus’, and Greece’s, delineated continental shelves and exclusive economic zones.

But Turkey is not expected to ratchet up the tension to levels seen in the Aegean in the summer of 2020, as United States officials have warned it to keep tensions under control.

President Joe Biden warned Erdogan at the NATO summit in Madrid in June to “maintain stability in the Aegean.” And Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin discussed the issues with his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, last week.

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