Turkey risks EU sanctions by announcing Oruç Reis is ready for exploration and drilling in Crete

Oruç Reis Turkey's Oruc Reis

The Turkish Oruç Reis research vessel that violated Greece's maritime space and continental shelf for much of August and September will soon be heading to violate Crete's maritime space, according to Turkish media.

A report today stated that geological exploration and drilling will be conducted in seven areas stipulated in the illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum.

The Turkish Oil Company requested permission from the illegal memorandum and will begin by the end of the year.

Turkish ships - according to the Turkish newspaper - will conduct exploration in and around Crete, as it is considered "the area with the most gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean."

The Oruç Reis is expected to go to these areas first, and then based on the findings, drilling rigs will be set up.

Turkey has officially then rejected the threat of sanctions imposed by the European Union against it in response to its illegal activities in the eastern Mediterranean, particular in Greece and Cyprus.

"The continued use of rhetorical sanctions is not constructive," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "The European Union must understand that it can not achieve anything in this way."

The statement said that some elements of the EU summit decisions on Turkey were positive, but that many points differed from reality. The result shows that Turkey's relations with the European Union "became hostage" to Greece and Cyprus.

Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots need to jointly set up a mechanism to co-ordinate their hydrocarbon activities and ensure revenue sharing between the two sides, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

"Until this is achieved, the Turkish Cypriot side will continue its activities in the field of hydrocarbons through TPAO (Türkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortaklığı)," the statement said.

This is a curious claim made by the Turkish Foreign Ministry as the Cypriot government has even suggested creating a fund for Turkish Cypriots to get a share of Cyprus' oil revenues, which was rejected by Ankara.