Ankara wants the East Med to become a ‘Turkish lake’

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Turkey’s illegal drilling in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and the wider region must be geopolitically checked as Ankara wants to turn the Eastern Mediterranean into a “Turkish lake”, said Energy Minister, George Lakkotrypis.

“Turkey is trying through its illegal actions to lead us to certain mistakes, which will legitimise its actions. Turkey intends to turn the Eastern Mediterranean into a Turkish lake”.

Lakkotrypis made the comment during a speech on Thursday in Athens at a conference on ‘Security and perspectives for the new energy routes in the Eastern Mediterranean’.

He argued that the Eastern Mediterranean could play a decisive role as an alternative source of supply and as a region for energy routes to the EU.

On Cyprus’ energy search he said the “forthcoming exploratory program will lead to new discoveries, which will offer many alternatives as regards the forms of exploitation and the energy routes to be chosen”.

Lakkotrypis opposed views supporting the freezing of Cyprus’ energy plans or the recognition of Turkey as an equitable actor in the region while it violates international law.

He said the French-Italian consortium between oil giants Total and ENI will start drilling in Block 6 on schedule in April despite an “escalation” in tension triggered by Turkey.

“The provocations from the Turkish side are nothing new,” Lakkotrypis told the Greek edition of Euronews on Thursday.

“What we have been seeing recently is simply an escalation of such actions. Despite these provocations…we are, of course, preparing for a new cycle of exploratory drilling,” he added.

He said ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum will also conduct exploratory drilling at a later date.