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  • Turkish President Erdogan announced that Turkey discovered the biggest natural gas field in Turkish history in the Black Sea. August 21, 2020. Istanbul, Turkey.

    Turkish President Erdogan announced that Turkey discovered the biggest natural gas field in Turkish history in the Black Sea. August 21, 2020. Istanbul, Turkey. | Photo: EFE/EPA/Turkish President Press Office

Published 21 August 2020 (23 hours 56 minutes ago)
Opinion

Hoping the discovery will reduce Turkey's energy dependence, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the deposits off the coast of the Black Sea are the largest in the nation's history. 

While industry experts note that the 320 billion cubic meter discovery was indeed notable, it won't be nearly enough to convert the country into a regional energy hub or alter its financial woes. 

Erdogan stated that Turkey hopes to begin extraction and consumption by 2023, the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic, saying, "We will not stop until we become a net exporter of energy."

RELATED: Turkey and Russia Officially Launch TurkStream Pipeline

The Turkish drilling ship Faith began its search on July 20th, eventually finding the deposit in the Tuna-1 exploration well 150 miles off the coast of Turkey near its maritime borders with Romania and Bulgaria. 

The discovery comes amidst tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey, which recently sent a research ship to look for undersea gas and oil deposits in Greek territorial waters. France has sent military vessels to monitor the region in support of Greece, while Germany has served as a mediator between the two Mediterranean nations. 

For Turkey, which also finds itself at odds with neighboring Cyprus after sending warships to escort vessels drilling off the Cypriot coasts, this recent discovery proves vital given that it has already delimited maritime borders with its Black Sea neighbors.

For a nation which imported $41 billion in energy last year alone, mostly from Iran, Iraq, and Russia, the move towards energy sovereignty brings Turks hope as the economy—experiencing high inflation, a devalued lira, and a wide account deficit—was already fragile before the Covid-19 pandemic made things worse. 

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