On August 7th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had resumed energy exploration work in the eastern Mediterranean as Greece had not kept its promises regarding suspending similar activities in the region.
“We have started drilling work again,” Erdogan told reporters after participating in Friday prayers at the Hagia Sophia mosque. “We don’t feel obliged to talk with those who do not have rights in maritime jurisdiction zones.”
“[German Chancellor Angela] Merkel laid down one request,” Ergodan said.
“She told me that in the event that I suspended operations [of the Oruc Reis], her job would become easier. I responded: “If you trust Greece and the others, we’ll suspend operations for 3-4 weeks, but I don’t trust them, you’ll see that they won’t keep their word.” And so the tripartite deliberations began between Greece, Turkey, and Germany. What will happen now that promises have not been kept? We immediately resume drillings.”
He said Turkey’s Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, a seismic survey vessel, had been sent to the region to carry out its duties.
Erdogan made the comments when asked about an accord signed by Egypt and Greece on August 6th designating an exclusive economic zone between the two nations in the east Mediterranean.
Diplomats in Greece said their agreement nullified an accord reached last year between Turkey and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya.
Erdogan said the Egypt-Greece accord was of no value and that Turkey would sustain its agreement with Libya “decisively”.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry claimed that the agreement between Egypt-Greece falls in the area of Turkey’s continental shelf.
Its statement asserted that Greece and Egypt had no mutual sea border and that the deal was “null and void” for Ankara.
“It is without a doubt that Turkey will not allow any activity in the area in question and will unwaveringly continue to defend its legitimate rights and interests as well as those of the Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean,” said the statement. “Egypt, which surrendered an area of 11,500 kilometers square with the so-called agreement it signed with the Greek Cypriot administration in 2003, once again suffers losses at the expense of the Egyptian people with this move,” said the ministry.
The GNA foreign ministry also condemned the deal between Egypt and Greece.
“Libya will not allow violations of its maritime rights,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Al-Qablawi said on Twitter.
Al-Qablawi reiterated Libya’s commitment as a memorandum of understanding concerning the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction signed with Turkey in late 2019.
The European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, is urging Turkey and Greece not to give up on efforts to bridge their differences and to continue to “work in good faith.”
“Good EU-Turkey relations are in the interest of all; we need to jointly address differences through dialogue and avoid unilateral actions,” Borrell said in a post on Twitter.
He said that after he discussed the situation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Malta.
The situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, he added, “requires sustained de-escalation, concrete action and work in good faith, in accordance with international law.”
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