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Politics

Mitsotakis Pushes Back Against Turkey’s Blue Homeland Doctrine Claims

ATHENS – Turkey’s plans to renew a hunt for energy in the Aegean and East Mediterranean, testing the boundaries of Greece’s sovereign waters, saw Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis saying he wouldn’t put limits on Greece’s exploration.

“We do not need anyone’s permission for what we do within our zone of national sovereignty,” he said to Antenna TV, responding to Turkey’s Energy Minister Turkey’s Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar saying his country would again look for energy in its “own Continental Shelf,” which has challenged Greece’s interest.

That comes during a detente between the countries that had seen tensions eased but Turkey edged back with more provocations shortly after Mitsotakis went to Turkey to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to keep the calm.

Mitsotakis also talked about Turkey’s plan to teach its Blue Homeland policy in schools which is expansionist, maps showing Turkey claiming parts of Greek territory. “We expect to see how this unacceptable doctrine will be reflected in school textbooks,” he said.

He also reiterated that Greece would go ahead to create marine parks in the Ionian off the west coast as well as the Aegean, which led Turkey to also announce similar plans in waters off its coast.

In an interview with the Haberturk TV network, after inclusion of the theory and map of the Blue Homeland in Turkish schools, Bayraktar said about semitic surveys and drilling plans that, “There are discoveries, we are drilling new wells.”

“The Mediterranean is the first step of our strategy to go to areas that have not been explored before with our ships. We have conducted eight deep-sea drilling operations in the Mediterranean. But the locations where we have drilled in the license areas granted by the TRNC (the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus) to Turkish Petroleum… and in the area of our own continental shelf, unfortunately, we have not made a discovery that reflects a significant economic size,” he stated.

“We will persistently and stubbornly continue these investigations throughout this area designated as the Blue Homeland,” he noted, while adding that Turkey’s priority is now to focus on the Black Sea, with the aim of exploiting the deposits that have been found.

He also said that Turkey and Libya would continue with its agreement – unaccepted by any other country – that divides the seas between them, including waters off Greece’s biggest island Crete, in another energy area dispute.

“We have never ignored the Mediterranean. One pillar of our strategy in exploration and production is certainly exploration in our own fields, in our seas and on land. Another pillar is exploration abroad, particularly in Libya. We made an agreement with Somalia. We also have exploration plans in Somali seas, offshore,” Bayraktar said of Turkey’s intentions.

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