Libya’s internationally recognised government and Turkey signed an agreement on maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean Sea that could complicate Ankara’s disputes over energy exploration with other countries.
Turkey announced the accord and a deal on expanded security and military co-operation on Thursday and supplied no details of the memorandum of understanding nor specify where Turkish and Libyan waters meet.
Libya’s neighbour Egypt dismissed the deal as “illegal” and Greece said any such accord would be geographically absurd because it ignored the presence of the Greek island of Crete between Turkey and Libya.
Tensions are high between Athens and Ankara because of Turkish drilling in the eastern Mediterranean off the divided island of Cyprus and the European Union prepared sanctions against Turkey in response.
The dispute left Ankara searching for allies in the region. The new agreements were signed on Wednesday between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Fayez al-Serraj, head of the Tripoli-based government which Ankara backs against a rival military force in eastern Libya.
“This means protecting Turkey’s rights deriving from international law,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said of the memorandum of understanding on “delimitation of maritime jurisdictions”.
He said accords could be agreed with other countries if differences could be overcome and Ankara was in favour of “fair sharing” of resources, including off Cyprus.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said any maritime accord between Libya and Turkey “ignores what is blatantly obvious, between those two countries there is the land mass of Crete”.
“Consequently such an attempt borders on the absurd.”