Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez on Wednesday said that once a maritime accord between Ankara and Libya’s Tripoli-based government is approved and registered by the United Nations, Turkey will start working on licensing for oil and gas exploration and production in the region.
“I think we will start the process in the first months of 2020,” Donmez said.
His comments came shortly before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey is prepared offer military support to Libya’s internationally recognized government and back joint steps in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva after a forum on migration, Erdogan said he had met the premier of the Tripoli-based government, Fayez al-Serraj, to discuss potential joint initiatives.
“We will speed up the process between Turkey and Libya. We told them that we are always ready to help if they need it. From military and security cooperation, to steps taken regarding our maritime rights – we are ready,” he was cited as saying by NTV.
Turkey says that the maritime accord signed last month allows the two countries to carry out joint energy exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, where Ankara has been at odds with Greece and Cyprus over offshore hydrocarbon resources.
Greece says the move violates international law. Ankara rejects this and says it is aimed at protecting its rights. [Reuters]