Turkey begins oil and gas search that could stoke tensions


Turkey says it has begun a search for oil and gas in east Mediterranean waters in a move that could stoke regional tensions.

The drillship "Conquerer" began exploratory drilling Wednesday off Antalya on Turkey's southern coast.

Turkey is asserting itself in the east Mediterranean to signal that it won't be left out of a potential offshore gas bonanza as neighboring Cyprus is poised to renew exploratory drilling off its southern shores.

Turkey opposes Cyprus's gas search, which it says infringes on its rights to oil and gas reserves and ignores the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to the ethnically split island's natural resources.

Cyprus says its gas search is fully in line with international law, rejects Turkey's claims and insists it won't be a party to a "manufactured crisis." [AP]