Turkey to remove mines for oil exploration

Mar 07, 2004 01:00 AM

Turkey has said it will start removing mines from its border with Syria in May to allow for exploration of possible oil deposits in the area. Turkish Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul said Syria was already producing oil on its side, and Turkey would be able do the same after clearing the minefields.
Mr Gonul said other parts of the border area would be returned to farming. Turkey's other borders remain mined, except for the one with Bulgaria, where mine-clearing has already begun.

Turkey and Greece have agreed to remove mines from their common border, but the operation has yet to start. Last year, seven illegal immigrants suspected to be from Pakistan were killed by landmines as they attempted to cross from Turkey into Greece.
"We will begin de-mining our 550 km (330-miles) border with Syria in Nusaybin (region)," Mr Gonul told.

He said the operations were expected to last several months.
Meanwhile, Turkish Trade Minister Kursad Tuzmen has been holding talks in Damascus on a proposed free-trade agreement with Syria. Mr Tuzmen said Turkish companies wanted to enter the Syrian market and were especially keen to co-operate in the fields of energy and oil exploration.

Source: BBC News
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