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Turkish research vessel exploring the eastern Mediterranean for natural gas

27 September 2011 / 20:09:14  GRReporter
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Following its threat, Turkey began to explore the eastern Mediterranean for oil and gas. The Turkish vessel Piri Reis, accompanied by warships, began the drilling precisely at 16:30, announced the head of the Turkish Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology Huseyin Avni Benli for the Anadolu Agency. At the same time, the challenging statements by Turkey and Northern Cyprus continue.

"Greek Cypriot provocative actions cause confusion in the Mediterranean," said the Turkish Minister for European Affairs and chief negotiator for Turkey’s accession in the European Union Egemen Bagis during his visit to northern Cyprus, where he met the President Dervis Eroglu. He added that Greek Cypriots could wait for the solution of the Cyprus issue before starting the drilling with the ironic comment, "They started working as if the natural gas will escape from the Mediterranean."

Dervis Eroglu said in turn that while they are making efforts to solve the political issue of the island with the best intentions, Greek Cypriots do not demonstrate good will and the start of the drilling shows their "negative" position concerning the resolving of the Cyprus issue.

Expressing the hope that an agreement will be reached, "so that all citizens of Cyprus to take advantage of the wealth in their region," Egemen Bagis said he would leave to Strasbourg to present the Turkish Cypriot position on natural gas to the European institutions.

The issue is discussed at the today's meeting of the European Parliament, in which the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton took part. MEPs expressed in a statement their concern about the rising tension between a member state and another one that is a candidate for accessing the EU.

For its part, the government in Nicosia is reasonable. The Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said the country follows the moves of the Turkish research vessel and underestimated its capabilities. Commenting, she said that the international community should react similarly at some point.

Replying to a question whether the vessel Piri Reis started the drilling, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis expressed her belief that nothing like this has happened. "This is a 40-year vessel and even it had the necessary equipment, Turkey would not have agreed with the Norwegian company for it." She said that the Cypriot government has notified the Norwegian one of the position of Cyprus and Greece on the occasion of the agreement with Turkey.

According to the Minister of Trade Praxoula Antoniadou, the drilling in plot 12 is carried out properly. She said the first results are expected within 73 days from the start of the research and the second round of permits could be held within a year.

Earlier, the Director of the Cyprus Energy Service Solon Kassinis said that the minister had asked him to estimate how much it would cost to stop the drilling. In her comment, Praxoula Antoniadou urged everyone to focus on the fact that drilling is carried out properly, and that it started two weeks before the previously announced date. "This discussion is pointless unless the reasons for it are of a different nature," she said.


Tags: PoliticsCyprusDrillingNatural gasTurkeyResearch vesselEuropean ParliamentEastern Mediterranean
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