Turkey calls for ‘acceptable formula’ for E.Mediterranean disputes

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appealed for an “acceptable formula” for energy exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean which has increased tensions over recent drilling activities.

“Let’s come together with all the countries in the Mediterranean. Let’s find a formula that is acceptable to everyone and protects everyone’s rights,” Xinhua news agency quoted Erdogan as saying at a press conference on Monday.

“We are always there and ready to resolve conflicts through dialogue and equity.”

Erdogan further said that Turkey will continue to implement its plans in the field and through diplomacy in the Mediterranean “until common sense prevails on this issue”.

His remarks came amid long-time overlapping claims between Greece and Turkey for hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey on Monday issued a new Navigation Telex (NAVTEX) for seismic surveys in the Eastern Mediterranean that will be conducted by its vessel Oruc Reis protected by the Turkish navy.

On August 7, Erdogan had announced that Ankara had resumed drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, a day after Egyptian and Greek foreign ministers signed an agreement on the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries and setting up an exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean Sea.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said “all the items of the agreement comply with the rules of international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea”.

But the Turkish Foreign Ministry responded by saying that the deal was “null and void”.

Tensions have erupted between Turkey and its NATO ally Greece over the energy resources in the region as Ankara has been opposing the drilling efforts of several countries there without its involvement.

Ankara has maintained that sea boundaries for commercial exploitation should be divided between the Greek and Turkish mainlands and not include the Greek islands on an equal basis.

Greece contends that Turkey’s position is a violation of international law.