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Turkey expands gas exploration efforts to Libya’s offshore waters

Turkey has moved to expand its gas exploration drive in the tension-ridden eastern Mediterranean since signing a maritime accord with Libya’s Tripoli-based government, but there are also signs that Ankara might seek to break its isolation in the region.

Turkey’s hydrocarbon exploration drive in the eastern Mediterranean seems to be expanding to the far west of Cyprus toward the southeast of the Greek island of Crete and Libya’s offshore waters after the November deal that Ankara struck with Libya’s Tripoli-based government on delimiting maritime zones between the two countries. The exploration efforts have been coupled with fresh Turkish moves in the Libyan conflict since the signing of the deal.

According to a navigational warning that Ankara issued Jan. 14, Turkish seismic research ship Oruc Reis will be conducting seismic surveys in an area about 200 miles to the west of Cyprus and some 90 miles to the east of Crete, accompanied by two logistic support vessels. The mission, scheduled to continue until April 10, is very close to the boundary zone outlined in the agreement with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA).

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