Erdogan: Turkey resumes energy exploration in east Mediterranean

Above, Turkey’s drilling ship Fatih is escorted by a Turkish Navy warship on July 9,2019 while on its way to the eastern Mediterranean near Cyprus. (Turkish Defense Ministry/AFP)
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Updated 07 August 2020

Erdogan: Turkey resumes energy exploration in east Mediterranean

  • Turkey and Greece have long been at loggerheads over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources

ISTANBUL: President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey had resumed energy exploration work in the eastern Mediterranean as Greece had not kept its promises regarding such activities in the region.
NATO members Turkey and Greece have long been at loggerheads over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources and tensions flared up last month, prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to hold talks with the country’s leaders to ease tensions.
“We have started drilling work again,” Erdogan told reporters after participating in Friday prayers at the Hagia Sophia mosque. “We don’t feel obliged to talk with those who do not have rights in maritime jurisdiction zones.”
He said Turkey’s Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, a seismic survey vessel, had been sent to the region to carry out its duties. The ship moved into waters off Cyprus in late July and remains in that region.
Erdogan made the comments when asked about an accord signed by Egypt and Greece on Thursday designating an exclusive economic zone between the two nations in the east Mediterranean.
Diplomats in Greece said their agreement nullified an accord reached last year between Turkey and the internationally recognized government of Libya.
However, Erdogan said the Egypt-Greece accord was of no value and that Turkey would sustain its agreement with Libya “decisively.” The Turkish Foreign Ministry has said the Egypt-Greece zone falls in the area of Turkey’s continental shelf.
Turkey and Greece are also at odds over a range of issues from flights over each other’s territory in the Aegean Sea to ethnically divided Cyprus.


Five civilians killed in Baghdad rocket attack

Updated 1 min 14 sec ago

Five civilians killed in Baghdad rocket attack

  • The rockets targeted the international airport but struck a residential home close by instead
  • Rocket attacks have become a frequent occurrence, often targeting the US Embassy in Baghdad and US troops present in Iraqi bases as well as Baghdad Airport

BAGHDAD: Iraqi militia groups fired two Katyusha rockets on a house in Baghdad, killing two women and three children and wounding two other children, the Iraqi military said on Monday.
The deaths were the first among Iraqi civilians in the latest outbreak of violence, during which Iran-backed Iraqi Shiite militias have been blamed for targeting US interests in the country. Police sources said Baghdad airport was the target of the attack. 
The rocket was launched from the Al-Jihad neighborhood of Baghdad.
The attacks have become a frequent occurrence, often targeting the US Embassy in Baghdad, within the heavily fortified Green Zone, and US troops present in Iraqi bases as well as Baghdad Airport. Roadside bombs have also frequently targeted convoys carrying equipment destined for US-led coalition forces.
Previous attacks have caused minor damage but rarely deaths or injuries.
The frequency of the rockets have strained Iraq-US relations, prompting the Trump administration last week to threaten to close its diplomatic mission in Baghdad if Shiite militia groups believed to be orchestrating them are not reigned in.
The disparate nature of Shiite militias following the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani and Iranian militia leader Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis has complicated Iraqi efforts to clamp down on rogue armed elements.
A government raid on the powerful Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah, suspected of launching rocket attacks, backfired when those detained were released for want of evidence.