December 15, 2019
World

Turkey Signs Maritime Boundaries Deal With Libya, Bypassing Greece

News Analysis

On Nov. 27, Turkey announced that it signed with Libya two memoranda of understanding: on marine jurisdictions and security and military cooperation, according to TRT World.

The memorandum on marine zones prepares a deal on maritime borders in the Mediterranean Sea, without specifying where Turkish and Libyan waters meet.

According to EurActiv neighboring countries affected by the deal like Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, and Italy were not consulted about this deal.

The agreements were signed on Nov. 27, by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, Fayez al-Sarraj. The United Nations, the European Union, and the United States recognize al-Serraj and his government.

Tripoli-based al-Sarrajs government confirmed the new agreements but did not provide any details.

Libya has been divided since 2014 into rival military and political camps based in the capital Tripoli and the east, respectively. Al-Sarrajs government is in conflict with forces led by Khalifa Haftar based in eastern Libya.

The government in eastern Libya said the maritime accord was illegitimate, according to Reuters.

The Turkish presidencys communications director Fahrettin Altun tweeted on Thursday that the agreement will strengthen military ties with the Tripoli-based government.

The agreement establishes training and education, structures the legal framework, and strengthens the ties between our militaries.

We are confident that we will improve the security situation for the Libyan people together.

— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) November 27, 2019

Haftar controls most of Libyas oil fields and facilities, but the central bank in Tripoli controls oil revenues.

In June, Haftars Libyan National Army (LNA) said they had cut all ties with Turkey and that all Turkish commercial flights or ships trying to access Libya would be treated as hostile.

Diplomats say Ankara has supplied drones and trucks to Al-Sarraj, while the LNA received support from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis speaks outside partys headquarters, after the general election in Athens, Greece, on July 7, 2019. (Costas Baltas/Reuters)

Greece Responds

The Greek Foreign Ministry summoned Turkish Ambassador Burak Ozugergin. Libyan ambassador Maiza K.Y. Gzllal was also summoned by Greece on Nov. 29, “to divulge the contents of the Turkey–Libya agreement on territorial waters by Thursday, reported Greek Reporters website. The website also says that if the Libyan ambassador refuses to do so, he will be expelled, according to diplomatic sources.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Nov. 28, “that any discussion between Turkey and Libya to establish an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is ”completely unacceptable,” according to Greek Reporter.

Map showing the Mediterranean Sea surrounded on the east by Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Libya. (Map Data, 2019, ORION-ME, Mapa GiSrael. Google Maps)
Map showing the Mediterranean Sea surrounded on the east by Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Libya. (Map Data, 2019, ORION-ME, Mapa GiSrael. Google Maps)
Map showing the Mediterranean Sea surrounded on the east by Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Libya.
(Map Data, 2019, ORION-ME, Mapa GiSrael. Google Maps)

Dendias said that the accord ignores the fact that between Turkey and Libya lies Crete—the biggest island of Greece.

According to same source, the Greek delegation attending the inauguration ceremony of TANAP gas pipeline left the event in protest “upon hearing Erdogan indirectly announcing” the agreement between TurRead More – Source

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