Turkish deal in ‘trash can’
TDT | Manama
Bahrain yesterday welcomed the maritime deal signed by Egypt and Greece as “an important and successful” decision opening up new horizons of economic cooperation. Bahrain’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the deal, which demarcates an exclusive economic zone for oil and gas drilling rights, is in line with the rules of International Law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The deal signed on Thursday by Egypt and Greece designates an exclusive economic zone in the eastern Mediterranean between the two countries, an area containing promising oil and gas reserves. Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry statement said the deal would “enhance bilateral constructive cooperation, achieve joint benefits from the available resources in the EEZ of each of them” and meet the aspirations of their peoples for further progress and prosperity.
The deal is in response to a similar agreement signed by Turkey and Libya’s Tripoli-based government last year raising tensions in the East Mediterranean region. The deal was widely dismissed by nations Cyprus and Greece as an infringement on their economic rights. European Union has said that the Turkish deal violates international law and threatens stability in the region.
Turkish deal In Greece, diplomats said the deal effectively nullified an accord between Turkey and the internationally recognised government of Libya. Last year, those two parties agreed to maritime boundaries in a deal Egypt and Greece decried as illegal and a violation of international law. Greece maintains it infringed on its continental shelf and specifically that off the island of Crete.
Following the deal, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said, “This agreement allows both countries to move forward in maximizing the utilization of the resources available in the exclusive economic zone, especially promising oil and gas reserves.” His Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias said the agreement with Egypt is within the framework of international law.
He further said the Turkey, Tripoli memorandum of understanding is “illegal, void and legally unfounded” and that the “non-existent Turkish-Libyan memorandum has ended up where it belonged from the beginning: in the trash can.”
His statement came hours after Greece said it is ready to start exploratory talks on the demarcation of maritime zones with Turkey as soon as this month. Earlier this month, Egypt said that part of a seismic survey planned by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean potentially encroached on waters where Cairo claims exclusive rights.