A new Turkish seismic research ship will set sail for the Mediterranean to explore for sources of hydrocarbons on Monday, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız announced on Sunday.
Yıldız said Turkey hired a new seismic research ship for oil and gas exploration and that the ship will leave for the Eastern Mediterranean on Monday. Noting that as opposed to what many say, two Turkish ships — the Piri Reis and another ship — have currently been conducting research off the coast of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC). Yıldız added that the ship set to set sail on Monday will be the third.
Piri Reis set out from Turkey late in September with a mission to reciprocate Greek Cypriot drilling off of the island of Cyprus to explore for natural gas and oil reserves under the seabed, a move that constituted the most recent episode of a crisis between Turkey and Greek Cyprus. The use of the ship, one of a kind in Turkey, has come under public criticism due to its old age, but Turkish officials bent on responding to Greek Cypriot refusal to halt their drilling project insist that the ship can do its job.
Turkey and Greek Cyprus have been deadlocked over territorial disputes for decades. Yıldız said Turkey have been conducting seismic research in the Mediterranean in cooperation with an international company for 40 days, but did not share this issue with the public.
Cyprus is divided into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north. The southern administration began exploratory drilling for oil and gas in mid-September, prompting strong protests from Turkey, which does not recognize the Greek Cypriot administration.
23 October 2011, Sunday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,