Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed on Saturday that his country won’t withdraw exploration vessels from the eastern Mediterranean, and the agreement with Libya will be applied in all its terms.
He made the remarks in a speech during his participation in the northwestern state of Edirne, at the ceremony linking the trans-Anatolian gas pipeline “Tanab” with the trans-Adriatic pipeline “TAP” to transport gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, according to the official Turkish Anadolu News Agency.
“All the terms of the agreement between Turkey and Libya will also come into effect”, Erdogan said.
“Our exploration will result in peace and prosperity, not conflict and bloodshed”.
On the Turkish exploration vessels in the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan stressed that “Turkey won’t withdraw its ships from there to comply with the screams of some and howling”.
He added: “We won’t give up our rights and won’t make the rights of the Turkish Cypriots up for grabs, and we won’t demand something that is not our right”.
He continued: “There are those who seek to fuel tension rather than the equitable sharing of hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean, and resort to the language of threat and extortion despite the possibility of fair sharing”.
In the same context, no State was above international law.
Erdogan was quoted by Bloomberg as saying that parliament would approve the agreement with Libya on the maritime boundary in the coming days, which would strengthen Turkey’s influence in the Mediterranean.
On Wednesday, the governments of Libya and the head of the internationally recognized government in Tripoli signed two memorandums of understanding: one on security and military cooperation between the two countries, and the other on sovereignty over maritime zones, aimed at protecting the rights of the two countries stemming from international law, the Anadolu News Agency reported.
In response, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the foreign ministers of Egypt, Greece and Cyprus had agreed in telephone conversations that the memorandums of understanding had no legal effect.
The three countries and the European Union are also opposed to Turkish oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and the bloc has threatened sanctions against Ankara.
Meanwhile, a Greek diplomatic source said on Saturday that the Greek foreign ministry had summoned Libya’s ambassador in Athens to seek “information on the content” of a military agreement signed by Turkey with the Libyan government of reconciliation.
The source told AFP that Athens had expressed “dissatisfaction” with the agreement and asked the Libyan ambassador to “provide information” no later than December 5 under the threat of “expulsion”.
On Thursday, Athens also asked the Turkish ambassador to Greece for information.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias is due in Cairo on Sunday for talks with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on “the latest developments in the eastern Mediterranean against the backdrop of the Turkish-Libyan agreement”, a ministerial statement said.
The protocol was signed Wednesday in Istanbul during a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister of the Accord government Fayez Sarraj, centered on “military and security cooperation” to strengthen the “framework agreement already existing military cooperation” and “relations between the armies” of the two countries, according to Ankara.
However, some media in Athens have pointed to the risk of violating the Greek “marine areas”.
“The signing of this agreement cannot violate the sovereign rights of other countries”, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Yenimatas said Thursday.
“This would be a flagrant violation of international maritime law”.
The accord comes despite an Arab League call on its members in October to halt cooperation with Ankara and limit their diplomatic representation in Turkey following a Turkish military offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.
He has the backing of Turkey and Qatar, as well as Italy, the former colonial power in Libya.
His rival Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, whose forces launched an offensive in Tripoli in April, has the backing of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and at least political support from the United States and Russia.
France also accuses him of backing but denies.
Relations between Greece and Turkey are sensitive, especially since the latter has been a gateway for thousands of refugees who have arrived in the Greek islands.