The government made the decision based on favorable international and regional developments and to gain an upper hand over the opposition by delivering on a long-held demand ahead of parliamentary elections slated for summer 2023, online news outlet In.Gr reported, citing sources from the office of the presidency.

According to the news outlet, a unilateral decision by Egypt on Dec.11 to demarcate its western maritime borders with neighboring Libya and exploration work by U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil off Crete also prompted the move.

Greek authorities did not expect a particularly harsh reaction from neighboring Turkey amid heightened tensions over several issues including the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Seas, Cyprus, and arms accumulation, the publication said.

The move would also significantly help Athens’ wider regional strategy to curb Ankara and its influence over Libya. Since early November, Exxon Mobil has been conducting seismic surveys in two blocks off Crete hoping to discover energy resources.

In response, Libya accused Greece of exploiting the Libyan crisis to impose a fait accompli and decried Athens’ “irresponsible behavior” of striking a deal with international companies to launch research and exploration efforts on the maritime borders between them.