By Murat Temizer
Turkey will start its first solo oil and gas deep-sea drilling in the Mediterranean before the end of this summer, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said on Friday.
Hailing Turkey's achievements under its national energy and mining policy, Albayrak said: "We are also making great efforts to ensure there is no letup in this momentum."
Resources in the Eastern Mediterranean have caused friction between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot administration. Earlier in 2018, the Greek Cypriot administration unilaterally launched exploratory drilling activities for gas in the Eastern Mediterranean despite strong opposition from Turkish Cypriots, who argue that the island's natural resources should be exploited jointly to ensure equal rights for both parties.
The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the EU but is not recognized by Turkey, which recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
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.
TANAP to start on June 12
Albayrak predicted that the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections would usher in a new era for Turkey.
"We will write a new story in the coming era, as there are more roads for us to travel. By the end of this year, Turkey's first domestic integrated solar factory will begin the production of national solar panels," he said.
He added that the country would also start preparations for the construction of a wind turbine factory.
Albayrak also said the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP) would launch on June 12 with the expected participation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev.
TANAP's initial annual capacity will be 16 billion cubic meters, from which Turkey will withdraw 6 billion cubic meters while the remaining 10 billion cubic meters will be delivered to Europe.