Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak claims his country is preserving its ‘guarantee rights’ following the recent move by energy firms TOTAL/ENI to begin drilling for gas within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“If you want to do whatever comes to mind, stake blocks and licence companies, it isn’t possible for us, as a guarantee power to see this in a favourable light,” said Albayrak.
Despite assurances that the government has taken all the necessary measures in light of any Turkish provocations with regards to the hydrocarbon exploration in block 11 of the Cyprus EEZ, Turkish claims essentially question the island’s EEZ in its entirety.
Turkey has announced that it is looking to buy a platform to start hydrocarbon exploration in block 6 in the Cyprus EEZ of which Turkey claims the northern half.
However Turkey’s claims do not stop at block six.
Similar claims have been made for blocks four and five while it also suggests that blocks two, three eight and nine and a large portion of block 12 are licensed by the Turkish Cypriot authorities and particularly the Turkish Petroleum Company.
Furthermore, Turkey claims that block 11 – where the West Capella is about to start exploratory drilling on behalf of a TOTAL/ENI partnership – belongs to Egypt.
The provocation continues following statements by Albayrak who referring to Turkey’s ‘guarantee rights’ announced that the exploratory vessel Barbaros would sail for Morphou to conduct seismic tests.
“We have completed tests in Famagusta. Our next step is Morphou. Morphou is very important to us,” announced Albayrak.
“With our work in Morphou we will play a more effective role in the Eastern Mediterranean,” he said.
He also added that with the drilling rig and platform that Turkey was set to secure, Turkey’s activities in the eastern Mediterranean would become very different.
“The Mediterranean is a very important area,” he added.
“Without a legal solution to the problem, its not right for the companies to take steps in dangerous areas,” said Albayrak referring to the international energy giants involved in hydrocarbon explorations in the Cyprus EEZ.
Following statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that the Turkish Foreign and Energy Ministry would cooperate against the unilateral measures taken by Cyprus, The General Staff of the Turkish armed forces announced the deployment of the frigate Gokceada to observe the developments around the West Capella and the scheduled exploratory drills.