ATHENS – Girding for the worst, Greece will track the Turkish energy drill ship the Abdulhamid Han drilling vessel to see if it will encroach on Greek seas or islands, the vessel the fourth being sent by the Turkish Petroleum Company.
The ship will head out on Aug. 9 after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – with the European Union not putting up any sanctions – made good on his word to send another ship back into the Aegean and East Mediterranean.
That is seen as raising the temperature again between the countries, even to a near-conflict point, if the ship approaches Greece’s sovereign waters, Turkey already drilling in Cypriot waters it claims as its own.
The vessel, said Kathimerini in a report, will depart the port of Tasucu on the southern coast of Turkey, a few nautical miles from the Turkish-occupied Cypriot Karpas Peninsula.
Countries normally issue a Navigational Telex (NAVTEX) when reserving waters for military maneuvers or energy hunts but this wasn’t done in this case up to the end of Aug. 8, the report said.
Erdogan said that, “To date, in our maritime jurisdictions, we have not allowed any planning or action to take place without us, and we will not allow it,” as he further stepped up his belligerent stance.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey was defending its sovereign rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and that “The Greek and Greek-Cypriot duo attempted to send nine ships to our continental shelf. We prevented these with the measures we took both on the front and at the table.”
Greece’s New Democracy government, the paper said, believes the most likely scenario will be that the drilling will start in the 2D and 3D areas around the occupied Karpasia Peninsula, either north or south of it.
Both Greece and Cyprus were said worried that the Turkish ship might go to Block 6 of Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic zone (EEZ), half of which Turkey said is on its Continental Shelf.
But the story said the ship might go further west toward Greece’s Continental Shelf and would be watched by the Greek Naval and Coast Guard, which are on alert and monitoring it.