It is a very important development that Egypt has made a tender on hydrocarbon exploration in the eastern Mediterranean respecting Turkey’s continental shelf limits, the Turkish national defense minister said on Saturday.

“We have many historical and cultural values in common with Egypt. When they are put in use, we consider that there may be different developments in the coming days,” Hulusi Akar said during the Blue Homeland 2021 tactical exercise.

Last August, Turkey resumed energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean after Greece and Egypt signed a controversial maritime delimitation deal, spurning Turkey’s goodwill gesture in halting the exploration.

Egypt last August signed an agreement with Greece, delimiting their borders in the Eastern Mediterranean, but some details of the deal only recently emerged, including Egypt respecting Turkey’s maritime territory.

Declaring the Greek-Egyptian deal “null and void,” Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis to continue its activities in an area within Turkey’s continental shelf.

Turkey in favor of dialogue with Greece

Drawing attention to issues between Turkey and Greece, Akar said: “We are in favor of solving problems through dialogue in line with international law, good neighborly relations, and we are open to talks.”

Turkey has consistently opposed Greece’s efforts to declare an exclusive economic zone based on small islands near Turkish shores, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean.

Ankara has also said energy resources near Cyprus must be shared fairly between the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.

*Writing by Burak Dag and Gozde Bayar

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