BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, that his country has resumed exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean, noting that Greece has not complied with its commitments related to exploration for energy resources in the region.
After Friday prayers at the Hagia Sophia Mosque, Erdogan said: “We have started excavation work again … I don’t think we are obligated to talk to those who do not have rights in the areas of maritime powers.”
He added that a “seismic” survey ship had been sent to the region to carry out its duties.
The ship he referred to had moved to an area opposite the coast of Cyprus in late July and remained there.
Erdogan’s comments came in response to a question about the agreement signed by Egypt and Greece on Thursday to define the exclusive economic zone of both countries in the eastern Mediterranean.
In Greece, diplomats said that the agreement between Athens and Cairo effectively nullified an agreement reached last year between Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, but Erdogan stressed that the Egyptian-Greek agreement is worthless and that Turkey will maintain its agreement with Libya “firmly.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated that the area covered by the agreement between Greece and Egypt falls within the scope of the Turkish continental shelf.
Turkey and Greece, both members of NATO, have long been at odds over competing claims to sovereignty over oil and gas resources, and tension between the two countries has recently escalated again.