Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, defended Turkish activities in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. He said these activities are based on the principle of seeking justice in the distribution of the Mediterranean’s wealth.
In a statement to reporters, Erdogan explained that the control of one party over the wealth of the Mediterranean was “an example of modern colonialism.”
Despite numerous international warnings to Turkey, it appears that Ankara is pushing on with its intended goals. It announced that the Oruc Reis research vessel will conduct seismic surveys in a disputed area in the eastern Mediterranean, until the 12th of September.
The Turkish Navy confirmed that the mission, which was scheduled to end on the 1st of September, will be extended and focus on a specific exploration area. This comes at a time when Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that the ship will continue to operate for 90 days, as it gradually approaches the Turkish region of Antalya. Seismic surveys are the first steps to the research and exploration of hydrocarbons.
The Turkish activities have caused an escalation with Greece. Athens believes these operations are taking place on the continental shelf, belonging to most of the Greek islands.
Oruc Reis has for weeks been carrying out seismic research, and is escorted by Turkish warships. Greece, which says the ship is operating in an area where it has exclusive rights on potential undersea gas and oil deposits, sent warships to shadow the Turkish flotilla.