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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan talks during a news conference


President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey had resumed energy exploration work in the eastern Mediterranean as Greece had not kept its promises regarding such activities in the region.

NATO members Turkey and Greece have long been at loggerheads over overlapping claims for hydrocarbon resources and tensions flared up last month, prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to hold talks with the country’s leaders to ease tensions.

“We have started drilling work again,” Erdogan told reporters after participating in Friday prayers at the Hagia Sophia mosque. “We don’t feel obliged to talk with those who do not have rights in maritime jurisdiction zones.”

He said Turkey’s Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, a seismic survey vessel, had been sent to the region to carry out its duties. The ship moved into waters off Cyprus in late July and remains in that region.

Erdogan made the comments when asked about an accord signed by Egypt and Greece on Thursday designating an exclusive economic zone between the two nations in the east Mediterranean.

Diplomats in Greece said their agreement nullified an accord reached last year between Turkey and the internationally recognised government of Libya.

However, Erdogan said the Egypt-Greece accord was of no value and that Turkey would sustain its agreement with Libya “decisively”. The Turkish Foreign Ministry has said the Egypt-Greece zone falls in the area of Turkey’s continental shelf.

Turkey and Greece are also at odds over a range of issues from flights over each other’s territory in the Aegean Sea to ethnically divided Cyprus.


REUTERS

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will conduct an expedited review of an experimental Alzheimer’s drug from Biogen Inc and Japan’s Eisai Co Ltd, the companies said on Friday, the first application in 17 years to be reviewed by the agency for a treatment of the mind-robbing disease.

Biogen’s shares were up Biogen’s shares were up 9% at $302.75.

If approved, aducanumab would be the first treatment designed to delay progression of Alzheimer’s disease, which is expected to affect 13.9 million Americans or 3.3% of the country’s population, by 2060, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The FDA agreed to a priority review with a decision expected by March 7, the companies said, faster than the 10 months typically expected under a standard review. The companies added in a statement that the agency “has stated that, if possible, it plans to act early on this application.”

“For the FDA to come and state that they will try and review it earlier is a pretty big deal,” Guggenheim analyst Yatin Suneja said.

Biogen said regulators had agreed to speed up the review without the company using a voucher that ensures a fast consideration, which some analysts said could be viewed as a sign of FDA interest.

“This can be interpreted as suggesting that the agency is comfortable with the data and is seriously considering approval based on the first cycle,” said Cowen analyst Phil Nadeau

The drug has had a tumultuous journey. Biogen in October revived plans to seek approval for the treatment, months after scrapping the development of the drug following disappointing study results.

Wall Street analysts, however, remain divided about the data from the clinical studies.

“There still are a ton of questions surrounding the aducanumab dataset,” Stifel analyst Paul Matteis said.

The FDA is planning to hold a meeting of outside experts on the application on a yet-to-be-determined date, the companies said. The agency is not required to follow the recommendation of such advisory committees, but often does.

“We largely view an advisory committee as one of the big ‘clearing events’ and predict it will be ‘mixed,’ leaving the Street in limbo,” Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said.


REUTERS