Turkey may begin oil exploration under Libya in the Eastern Mediterranean within the coming three or four months, even though the deal with Libya has come under condemnation from other countries in the region including Greece and Cyprus.
The administration of Prime Minister Al-Sarraj, under the auspices of the Government of National Accord (GNA), signed the maritime deal with Turkey last year. The deal reportedly creates an exclusive economic zone from the Southern coast of Turkey to the North-Eastern coast of Libya. It also protects rights to resources.
Other countries in the region object the agreement and consider it as illegal. The European Union also opposes the deal that was signed alongside an agreement for Turkey to provide military support to the Government of National Accord, which has been at loggerheads with the Eastern-based forces of Commander Haftar for over a year.
Turkey has denied the allegations by the other countries. The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Turkey, Fatih Dönmez, speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of Turkey’s Faith oil-and-gas drilling ship to the Black Sea, said that Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı (Turkish Petroleum – TPAO) which had applied for an exploration permit in the Eastern Mediterranean would begin operations in areas under its license after the process has been completed.
He said, “Within the framework of the agreement we reached with Libya we will be able to start our oil exploration operations there within three to four months.”
If the deal pulls through, it will cause further tensions in the region. Turkey has been at loggerheads with Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel over the ownership of natural resources. The EU may also sanction the country if it goes on with the terms of the deal.
In another news from Turkey, according to the Minister, on July 15th 2020 which marks the anniversary of a failed coup attempt in 2016, the Faith drillship will hold its first operation in the Black Sea.