Turkey discovered a natural gas deposit in the Black Sea, spanning 320 billion cubic meters, the largest in its history, according to the President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to a teleSUR report, the Turkish drilling ship Faith began a search on July 20. The deposit was found in the Tuna-1 exploration, around 150 miles off the coast of Turkey, near its maritime borders with Romania and Bulgaria.
This discovery is notable as Turkey has historically depended on foreign imports for its energy. According to a report on DailySabah, foreign energy accounts for 75% of the country’s energy consumption, on which it spends approximately $50 billion. Turkey buys one-third of its natural gas from Russia, one-fifth from Azerbaijan, 17% from Iran, and 12% from Algeria.
Recently, before this discovery was made, Turkey had sent a research ship to look for undersea gas and oil deposits in Greek territorial waters. Due to the lack of agreed-upon maritime borders between Turkey and Greece as well as Turkey and Cyprus, there are many regional conflicts over energy reserves and resources in the sea.
Hinting that there could be more reserves of natural gas where this one was found, President Erdogan has stressed energy sovereignty for Turkey, and further, the possibility of the country becoming an exporter of energy.
Turkey is currently experiencing high inflation, a devalued lira, and a wide account deficit. This discovery of natural gas provides hope for the improvement of the Turkish economy.
According to Simon Tisdall, due to Turkey’s internal economic problems coupled with the pandemic, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been attempting to assert the country’s dominance through faith-fuelled nationalism, especially through aggression towards neighboring countries, and a shift from Turkey’s earlier secular attitude towards Islam. Turkey’s recent attempts at maritime expansion, under the doctrine of ‘Blue Homeland’, a vision of maritime jurisdiction of areas surrounding Turkey, are perhaps part of this attempt.