Libya’s internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) signed the maritime delimitation deal last year. Turkey says it creates an exclusive economic zone from its southern coast to Libya’s northeast coast, and protects rights to resources.
Greece, Cyprus and others oppose the accord and call it illegal, an accusation Ankara has rejected. The EU also opposes the maritime deal.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of Turkey’s Fatih oil-and-gas drillship to the Black Sea, Donmez said Turkish Petroleum (TPAO), which had applied for an exploration permit in the eastern Mediterranean, would begin operations in areas under its licence after the process was completed.
“Within the framework of the agreement we reached with Libya we will be able to start our oil exploration operations there within three to four months,” Donmez said. Turkey’s new Kanuni drillship would also go to the Mediterranean later this year, he added.
The move could further stoke tensions in the region, where Turkey has been at loggerheads for years with Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel over ownership of natural resources. Turkey could also face possible EU sanctions over its operations.
Separately, Donmez said the Fatih drill ship would hold its first operation in the Black Sea on 15 July.
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