The Turkish foreign ministry on Thursday dismissed the announcement of the foreign ministers of Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and France criticising Turkey’s memorandum with Libya, saying they were based on completely unrealistic positions.
In response to a joint statement on Wednesday by the four ministers who had called on Turkey to “act responsibly” Ankara said the memorandums it signed with Libya were legitimate and in accordance with international law.
During their meeting in Cairo, the four ministers said in a joint communique that the memorandums have further undermined regional stability and are considered null and void.
They said that the Turkey-Libya Memorandum of Understanding purporting to delimit maritime jurisdictions in the Mediterranean Sea “infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the Law of the Sea and cannot produce any legal consequences”.
As regards the security memorandum and any decision to send troops to Libya, they said it was a serious violation of several UN Security Council resolutions including 2259, and a threat to regional security and stability.
They called on Turkey to act responsibly and stressed the need for the countries of the Mediterranean basin to cooperate in good will and constructively to guarantee regional security.
The Turkish foreign ministry said that the MoUs in question “constitute a response to the parties who try to ignore our country and the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean”. It said that the four ministers’ statement underlined once again that the steps Turkey is taking in the Eastern Mediterranean are right and proper.
It reiterated that Turkey, as the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean region, has the right to speak about relevant energy projects.
“We would like to take this opportunity to express once again that we are ready to cooperate with all countries except the Greek Cypriot Administration to turn the Eastern Mediterranean into a field of cooperation, not conflict,” the ministry said.
The foreign ministers of Cyprus, Greece, Egypt and France had met in Cairo to discuss the latest developments in the region. Italy too attended as an observer.
Cyprus’ Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides had said prior to the meeting they would also discuss Turkey’s activities in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Turkey, that accuses the Republic of Cyprus of unilaterally carrying out exploration drilling and signing agreements with energy companies on the exploitation of hydrocarbons off the island, has sent drillrigs and exploratory vessels into Cyprus’ EEZ arguing it is protecting her own and Turkish Cypriots’ rights.