The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that “the maximalist and illegal claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, which neglect the presence of Turkish Cypriots, are at the root of the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
The ministry’s comments came in a statement, issued Tuesday evening October 19, in response to a joint statement issued after a tripartite summit between Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration and Egypt, in the Greek capital, Athens.
The Turkish Ministry claimed that the Tripartite Declaration was yet another manifestation of hostility from Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration. Furthermore, he added that Egypt’s participation in the declaration indicates that the country “has not yet grasped the real direction in which it can cooperate in the Eastern Mediterranean”.
The Turkish Ministry reiterated Turkey’s determination to protect its own legitimate rights and those of Turkish Cypriots in the region. The ministry stressed that Turkey has already shown that no initiative in the region can succeed without the participation of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
See also: Northern Cyprus will only start talks on the division of the island if its equality is recognized
“Turkey supports energy projects that will strengthen cooperation between countries in the region. However, these projects must not ignore the rights and interests of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots, and must be inclusive,” the statement said.
“We recall once again that a new negotiation process (concerning the division of the island of Cyprus) will only be possible if the sovereign equality and international status of the Turkish Cypriot people are reaffirmed,” the ministry added. .
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, pointing out that excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots.
Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding issues in the region, including maritime disputes, through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue and negotiations.
See also: Greek Prime Minister says his country ‘has no intention of entering into an arms race with Turkey’
The ministry also pointed out that there were “unsubstantiated allegations” in the Tripartite Declaration regarding Turkey’s and Libya’s maritime jurisdiction and military cooperation agreements.
“The fact that these countries, which have led Libya to instability by supporting certain illegitimate groups, are now targeting the memorandums of understanding that we have signed with the legitimate Libyan government is above all an act of disrespect for the interests and the sovereignty of Libya,” the Turkish ministry stressed.
Libya has been embroiled in a heartbreaking civil war since the ousting and death of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term agreement have failed due to a military offensive by forces loyal to the Putschist General Khalifa Haftar, who launched an attack on the capital, Tripoli, in April 2019, but was controlled by forces loyal to the government.
Subsequently, a ceasefire was agreed at the end of October last year and negotiations continue for an interim government ahead of presidential and legislative elections on December 24, 2021.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Head of the Greek Cypriot administration Nicos Anastasiades and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reiterated their commitment to the alliance established in Athens.
In a joint statement following the Ninth Trilateral Summit on Cooperation and Coordination, the leaders of the Greek, Greek Cypriot and Egyptian governments underlined their countries’ support for each other’s positions on a number of key issues – including the Cyprus, Libya, the crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria, the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, illegal immigration, cooperation in the energy sector and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which caused serious problems between Egypt and Ethiopia.
Reiterating the Greek-Cypriot narrative on the Cyprus issue, the countries noted that a two-zone, two-community federation with one sovereignty, one international entity and one citizenship is the only solution.
Referring to the maritime zones of the Eastern Mediterranean, the countries accused Turkey of violating the maritime zones established by international law. The countries also said exclusive economic zones have already been established off the island of Cyprus, making drilling and seismic surveys carried out by Turkish vessels in the area “illegal”.
In the statement, it was also stated that Turkey is violating Greek national airspace and the continental shelf of the Aegean Sea.
In the same way, the countries underlined that the memorandum of understanding between Libya and Turkey on the delimitation of areas of maritime jurisdiction in the Mediterranean cannot produce legal effects.
Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration have also firmly and openly reiterated their support for Egypt regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which has caused a serious dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia.
“We recognize the existential threat that the GERD could pose to Egypt if operated unilaterally,” the statement added.
Despite the deepening strategic ties between Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration and Israel, the countries said they supported the formation of an independent and viable Palestinian state with secure and recognized borders in the pre-alignment 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, adding that they also recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.
Expressing their satisfaction with the level of cooperation, the countries unveiled a plan that foresees the creation of a tripartite electricity interconnection that would allow the transmission of Egyptian electricity to Europe via Greece.
The parties have agreed that the next trilateral summit will take place in Egypt in the second half of 2022.
The Anadolu Agency website contains only part of the news offered to subscribers on the AA News Broadcast System (HAS), and in a summary form.