Erdoğan: We can't be excluded from Mediterranean resources

Turkish president warned foreign oil companies over energy exploration off Cyprus, describing those who defy Ankara as "bandits of the sea" who would face a similar response as its foes in Syria
Sunday, 04 November 2018 22:20

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he doesn't permit what he called the seizing of natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Erdoğan said in a speech marking the commissioning of a new Turkish warship that exploiting the resources of the eastern Mediterranean while excluding Ankara was unacceptable.

"It is absolutely unacceptable to usurp the natural resources of the eastern Mediterranean while excluding Turkey and Northern Cyprus," he added

Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus -who do not have diplomatic relations- are both planning hydrocarbon research in the Mediterranean Sea for natural gas reserves. Off the divided island of Cyprus, Turkish-populated Northern Cyprus, who are supported by Turkey, say any offshore resources that Republic of Cyprus tap into must be shared.

A Turkish ship began explorations for oil and natural gas this week off the coast of southern Antalya province. The first drilling location is not within disputed territories near Cyprus.

"As we made the terrorists in Syria pay, we will not leave the scene to the bandits of the sea," Erdoğan said.

"Those who thought they could take steps in the Eastern Mediterranean or the Aegean in defiance of Turkey have now begun to understand what a big mistake they were making."

Foreign energy giants such as ExxonMobil of the US, Italy's ENI and France's Total have all said they are committed to energy drilling off Cyprus, in defiance of past warnings from Ankara.