Greek-Turkish: A Turkish drilling rig leaves for research in the Mediterranean – The Turks want an episode

Judging from the following (they come from Turkish media), Greek-Turkish will have a prominent place on our agenda this August as well.

A new chapter is being heralded in Greek-Turkish affairs as Turkey is set to resume exploration for gas and oil in the Mediterranean – so it will send its new drillship to the region next month, a top official said on Wednesday.

The statements of the country’s vice president, Fuat Oktai, coincided with the 48th anniversary of the neighboring country’s invasion of Cyprus.

“Our drilling rig ‘Abdülhamid Han’ plans to start operations in the Mediterranean next month,” he said at a ceremony in Nicosia.

The announcement of the drilling operation near Cyprus comes amid strained relations between Athens and Ankara.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan broke off dialogue with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, citing lobbying against the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey, during a visit to the US.

The Turkish president said the Greek prime minister “doesn’t exist for him anymore” and refused to meet him until he “pulls himself together”.

Tensions have risen in recent years over natural resources and jurisdiction in the Mediterranean.

Turkey stresses that it wants to see the energy as an incentive for a political resolution in Cyprus and peace in the wider Mediterranean basin, not as a catalyst for further tensions.

In reality, however, all it does continuously is to dynamit the climate and present maps that have no substance.

“The hydrocarbon resources of the Mediterranean are not the toys of the Greek Cypriots. None of the attempts to block Turkey and the TRNC (so-called pseudo-state) in the Eastern Mediterranean have been successful. Nor is it going to succeed in the future,” Oktai said.

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Ankara has consistently disputed the Greek Cypriot side’s unilateral drilling, arguing that the TRNC also has rights to resources in the area.

Turkey officially has a fleet of four drillships, as the latest and most advanced of these, the Abdülhamid Han, arrived in mid-May.

Purchased in November last year, it is a seventh-generation vessel and joins the fleet, which includes the sixth-generation vessels acquired in recent years (“Fatih”, “Kanuni”, “Yavuz”).

The purchase of ‘Abdülhamid Han’ reinforces Turkey’s intention to accelerate its hydrocarbon exploration activities.

Moreover, it is part of the national policy regarding the promotion of technology and the use of local equipment for energy projects.

Equipped with advanced technology and able to operate in difficult conditions, “Abdülhamid Han” will start its first mission in the first half of August, as Fatih Domez, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, has stated a few days ago.

Operated by state-owned energy company Türkiye Petrolleri AO (TPAO), the ship can operate at a maximum depth of 3,665 meters (12,024 ft).

The vessel, 238 meters long and 42 meters wide, weighs 68,000 gross tons, has a maximum drilling depth of 12,200 meters and can accommodate a crew of 200.

Therefore, if one judges from the above (they come from Turkish media), Greek-Turkish will have a prominent place on our agenda this August as well.

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