Turkey inks Libya maritime deal to ‘protect rights’ in Mediterranean

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) and Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) and Prime Minister Fayez Serraj, head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday Ankara signed a deal on maritime boundaries with Libya to protect Turkey’s rights in the Mediterranean Sea.

The deal covers “security and military cooperation” and “restriction of marine jurisdictions,” the Turkish presidency said.

It added that the deal was signed during a meeting on Wednesday in Istanbul between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez Serraj, the head of Libya’s UN-backed government.

Ankara backs Serraj against a rival military group in Libya’s east.

The deal comes on the heels of Turkish offshore drilling activities near Cyprus which has angered the European Union (EU) and Greek Cypriots on the divided island.

Turkey wants to “protect our rights in eastern Mediterranean under international law and ensure a fair share of resources there,” Cavusoglu said in Ankara, according to state news agency Anadolu.

The EU paved the way two weeks ago for sanctions against Ankara over Turkish drilling in waters considered by EU member Cyprus to be part of its own exclusive economic zone.

Turkey responded by expanding its activities in the eastern Mediterranean, the country’s Energy Minister Fatih Donmez announced on Nov. 22.

Ankara maintains that its gas exploration actions are in line with international law.

Turkey is still willing to “work with” other countries concerned about finding a solution to Mediterranean maritime issues, Cavusoglu said, without naming any country.

Cyprus has, since 1974, been split into a predominantly Greek south and a Turkish north, whose sovereignty is recognised only by Ankara.

Cyprus joined the EU in 2004. (NAN)

-Nov 28, 2019 @17:07 GMT

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