Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the countries in the Eastern Mediterranean were slowly accepting the status quo declared by Ankara!
In his speech to his party’s parliamentary group, the Turkish President said that “with our resolute stance the rest of the countries in the region, but mainly Greece, have slowly begun to accept the status we have proclaimed in the Mediterranean”.
Referring to the memorandum between Ankara and Tripoli, he stressed that “following the agreement with Libya in the Mediterranean, we are gradually shifting the balance towards our side”, adding that the European Union “has no jurisdiction over Libya”.
Against this backdrop, the Turkish president formally announced the acquisition of a third drilling rig and stressed that the vessel would begin drilling in 2020. He did not specify in what direction it would be heading. “After Fatih and Yavuz, we have purchased a third drilling rig. We are talking about a 6th generation super drill rig that can drill to a depth of 11,400 meters. In March we will bring it for maintenance and technical inspection as well as for testing. We plan to start drilling within the year”, he explained.
With the title ‘The license for Crete is ready’, the Turkish pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper reports that after the posting of the Turkish-Libyan agreement’s coordinates by the UN, Oruc Reis will be allowed to explore in Eastern Crete.
According to the report, as soon as the UN unveils the maritime jurisdictional coordinates set out in the agreement, “seismic researches and drilling operations will kick off in the area declared as the Turkish EEZ”.
“Initially, the Turkish Oil Company (TPAO) will receive research permits east of Crete on plot 15”, the report notes, adding that Oruc Reis would be directed towards that area for researches.
Parallelly with those statements and moves by Ankara in the Eastern Mediterranean, on the other front, that of Syria, things are not at all positive. As the Turkish president said, talks with Moscow over the Idlib issue did not have a positive effect and he issued threats against the Assad regime. “Turkey has made all its preparations for a military operation in Idlib. And as in any operation, we say “one night we could appear all of a sudden”.
There is, however, dissatisfaction by Moscow with Turkey over developments in Idlib. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Moscow was unhappy with Turkey over the implementation of the Sochi agreement after extremists began marching on Idlib.
“This is an operation against the legitimate government of the Syrian Republic and the Syrian Armed Forces which will undoubtedly be the worst choice”, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov noted.
He added, however, that Russia intended to continue using its contacts with Turkey to avoid further escalation in the Syrian province of Idlib.
“We were pleased with the agreements reached a year ago in Sochi, as were both sides. And we were not pleased at all after extremists and terrorist organizations began their advance from Idlib targeting the Syrian Armed Forces and Russian military installations. It was then that we ceased to be satisfied. We intend to maintain regular contacts with our counterparts in Turkey to avoid further escalation in Idlib”, Peskov stated.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also stressed that Moscow did not set new requirements during meetings with the Turkish delegation.
“Russia-Turkey talks in Moscow have not reached a final agreement on how to implement the Erdogan-Putin agreements on Idlib”.
As Erdogan said, he has discussed with his American counterpart Donald Trump a possible military operation in Syria.
Amidst this climate, US President Donald Trump’s claims that he was working alongside Recep Tayyip Erdogan on developments in Idlib has raised some eyebrows.
Trump responded to reporters’ questions before leaving for Los Angeles, where he said Erdogan was a strong and tough leader with whom he shared good relations.
The US president noted that they were working with Turkey on Idlib.
The two leaders had a phone conversation over the weekend, and the White House stated that Trump thanked Erdogan for his efforts on Idlib. /ibna