Turkey has defended its maritime borders deal with Libya as being in conformity law and accuses Greece and Cyprus of making “maximalist and uncompromising claims” instead of engaging in dialogue.
A statement by Hami Aksoy, spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, repeats Turkey’s longstanding claim that the eastern Aegean islands, closer to the Turkish than the Greek mainland, “cannot create maritime jurisdiction areas beyond their territorial waters” and needles Egypt as a victim of Greek and Cypriot tactics.
Cyprus, Egypt and Greece have all condemned the Libyan-Turkish deal as contrary to international law. The foreign ministers of Egypt and Greece, who met in Cairo Sunday, agreed that the leader of the UN-recognized Libya government, did not have the right to make such deals and that he exceeded the scope of the UN deal in doing so.
The whole Turkish foreign ministry statement is as follows:
“By the agreement signed with Libya, a part of the western borders of our maritime jurisdiction areas in the Eastern Mediterranean is delimited. The agreement is in accordance with the court decisions that create the international jurisprudence and international law including the relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
All parties are in essence aware that islands cannot have a cut-off effect on the coastal projection of Turkey, the country with the longest continental coast line in Eastern Mediterranean, that the islands which lie on the opposite side of the median line between two mainlands cannot create maritime jurisdiction areas beyond their territorial waters and that the length and direction of the coasts should be taken into account in delineating maritime jurisdiction areas. As a matter of fact, prior to the signing of the said agreement, Turkey has repeatedly invited all parties to negotiations for a consensus based on equity and remains ready for negotiations. However, instead of engaging in negotiations in response to Turkey’s international law and equity-based approach, the parties only preferred to take unilateral steps and try to shift blame on Turkey. Maximalist and uncompromising Greek and Greek Cypriot claims lie behind this understanding, whereas for example, Kastellorizo, a small island immediately across the Turkish mainland is supposed to generate a maritime jurisdiction area of four thousand times larger than its own surface. This understanding caused Egypt to lose an area of 40.000 square kilometers.
Through this agreement with Libya, the two countries have clearly manifested their intention not to allow any fait accomplis.”