Copy of 2020-05-29T161359Z_1596554752_RC2GYG9WSG74_RTRMADP_3_TURKEY-LIBYA-DRILLING-1590834414083
Turkey's drilling vessel Fatih sails through Bosphorus as she leaves for the Black Sea in Istanbul, Turkey May 29, 2020. Picture taken with a drone. Image Credit: REUTERS

Ankara: Turkey’s planning to start oil exploration within maritime borders set by an accord with Libya’s Tripoli-based government in three to four months, state-run Anadolu Agency cited Energy Minister Fatih Donmez as saying on Friday.

The new “Kanuni” drilling ship will sail into the Mediterranean for its first mission this year, Donmez said.

The eastern Mediterranean has become an energy hot spot with big finds for Cyprus, Israel and Egypt in recent years, and Turkey is now determined to secure a share of critical assets. A maritime agreement signed in November with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj’s administration prompted Turkey to claim rights to parts of the seabed that Athens says is Greek under international law.

Turkey supports Sarraj’s government in its conflict against eastern-based military leader Khalifa Haftar.