After Cyprus, Turkey Sets Sight on Greece's Waters Too

Αssociated Press

FILE-In this Thursday, June 20, 2019 file photo, Turkey's 230-meter (750-foot) drillship 'Yavuz' escorted by a Turkish Navy vessel (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

Having conducted what Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades called “an economic invasion,” of the island's waters to drill for energy, Turkey is now reportedly looking to take control of parts of Greece's Continental Shelf.

The Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO,) now in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in defiance of the legitimate government, the United States, Greece and ignoring European Union sanctions is eyeing Greek waters, said Kathimerini.

The paper said analysts believe TPAO appears to have already carried out seismic explorations in certain areas east of the 28th meridian on the edge of the Greek continental shelf where there are indications of hydrocarbon reserves as energy has become the new catalyst in the region.

Not identified, they also said Turkey's next step will be to conduct supplementary prospecting to select drilling targets, with the ultimate aim of consolidating its claims by installing platforms to extract oil and gas.

While the Cyprus drilling raised fears of a possible conflict as the government licensed foreign companies to hunt for energy there as well – including the United States' ExxonMobil which has reported a major gas find – any movement into Greek waters could ratchet worries of a clash.

Turkey needs energy, especially natural gas, with its annual demand estimated at 52 billion cubic meters, leading President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to order full speed ahead off Cyprus where the international community hasn't stopped him yet.

Petroleum geologist and energy economist Konstantinos Nikolaou told the paper that Turkey has, most likely, already conducted seismic research east of the 28th meridian over two periods as Greece's new New Democracy government said it wants to try peaceful talks to ease the tensions but is prepared to defend the waters.

Turkey is building an energy fleet and its aim appears to be control over the East Mediterranean and deny Greece and Cyprus and other countries any access to the waters it would seize and claim, backed by the recent purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system.