The find will be officially announced this Saturday, from the deck of the drill ship Fatih, where “we will personally witness the efforts on site and announce the amount of the new reserves,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the parliamentary group of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.
The announcement this August of 320 billion cubic meters in Black Sea reserves by the drill ship Fatih made Turkey “very happy,” followed by today’s additional good news, he said.
Following this summer’s find, when the Fatih discovered the TUNA-1 well in the Sakarya Gas Field, around 170 kilometers (106 miles) off Turkey’s northern coast, Turkish officials had said more reserves might be found soon.
The discovery was the biggest in Turkey’s history. Officials have said the gas from the well would be ready for public use in 2023.
Azerbaijani land and Armenia
Turning to the conflict in the Caucasus, Erdogan also called on the Minsk Group to take immediate steps to have occupied territories in the Upper Karabakh region returned to their rightful owner, Azerbaijan.
“If there are human rights and democracy in the world, and if you have been responsible for solving this issue in the OSCE Minsk Group, the thing you have to do is to finish these negotiations and return these territories to their owner,” Erdogan said.
“Turkey will continue to stand by Azerbaijan with all our means and all our potential,” he vowed.
The current clashes began on Sept. 27 when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.
Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.
For nearly three decades, some 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation.
Many world powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have urged a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.
Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed to in 1994.
A humanitarian cease-fire announced last weekend for the exchange of prisoners and bodies was quickly broken by Armenian forces, leading to multiple deaths and casualties.
Reopening of Maras, Cyprus
Erdogan also slammed criticism of last week’s partial reopening of the Turkish Cypriot town of Maras.
“The Maras region belongs to the Turks of Northern Cyprus, this should be known,” he said.
The abandoned town of Maras in Gazimagusa, Turkish Cyprus was partially reopened for public use last Thursday.
Historical and archival research backed by Turkey found that most of the land in Maras belongs to Turkish foundations.
Turkey has stressed that the partial reopening does not change the status of Maras.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK.
Constitutional Court member’s tweet
Commenting on a Tuesday night tweet by a member of Turkey’s Constitutional Court, Erdogan called the tweet “unfortunate.”
If Judge Engin Yildirim wants to say such things, he should resign his post and enter politics, said Erdogan.
“The lights are on,” Yildirim had tweeted, along with an illuminated picture of the Constitutional Court headquarters in Ankara.
The tweet apparently signaled his disagreement with a Wednesday lower court ruling saying that Enis Berberoglu, a former main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy, does not need a retrial.
AK Party members blasted his tweet as constituting “a call for a coup.”