Three Possible Routes for Turkish Drillships

Turkey’s Abdul Hamid Khan drillship departed Tuesday for the eastern Mediterranean, predictably prompting discussion about the extent of escalation Turkey may choose in August.

Judging by the normal way Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO) operates, the drillship is operating in an area where extensive exploration has taken place. This means that areas east of the 28th meridian (i.e., south of Rhodes and further east) and far offshore to the west and north of Cyprus are potential targets. It is unlikely either in the region west of the 28th meridian, within the region delimited between Greece and Egypt, or within the so-called Turkish-Libyan Memorandum of Understanding.

Any movement west of the 28th meridian (Eastern Mediterranean or Aegean Sea) is recognized as a severe escalation Turkey.

According to current data, the areas with the highest potential for exploratory drilling are, first, either areas north of Cyprus, areas belonging to Turkey, or the so-called “continental shelf” of the Turkish-occupied entity of Northern Cyprus. It is Abdulhamid Khan’s activities could extend into the surrounding areas of the Turkish-occupied Carpathian Peninsula if the organization obtains his TPAO license.

Second, it could move distinctly into Cyprus’ limited EEZ to the southwest of the island. In such cases, the northern part of Block 6, with the southern part being drilled by the Italian-French Eni/Total consortium, is one obvious target. Blocks 4 and 5 are also possible targets in the southwest of the island, as is block 3 in the southeast.

Another possibility is east of the 28th meridian, south of Rhodes, up to 6 nautical miles off Paphos. Three Possible Routes for Turkish Drillships

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