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Turkish FM calls on Israel to annul EEZ agreement with Cyprus

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

TURKISH Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on Israel to annul its agreement with Cyprus on the delimitation of their exclusive economic zones (EEZs), claiming that Israel had ceded some maritime areas to Cyprus, reports said on Friday.

Speaking to CNN Turk, Cavusoglu said that only if the Israel-Cyprus agreement is annulled could the Turkish continental shelf be merged with that of Libya.

Cyprus signed EEZ delimitation agreements with Egypt in 2003, Lebanon in 2007 and Israel in 2010. The delimitation is based on the median line method.

The Turkish minister said that Cyprus carved out its offshore blocks based on the agreement it made with Israel. He claimed that part of Turkey’s continental shelf falls within that area.

In other words, he said, Israel, in order to sign an agreement with Turkey similar to the one Ankara signed with Libya, must cancel the agreement it signed with the “Greek Cypriot administration”, which is how Turkey refers to the Republic of Cyprus since it does not recognise it.

He also said that for Israeli natural gas to enter the international market, the pipeline must pass through Turkey or the Turkish continental shelf.

Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey is willing to cooperate with everyone in the eastern Mediterranean except the Greek Cypriots.

He also said that there have been moves in the eastern Mediterranean to exclude Turkey through cooperation agreements. Cavusoglu said no agreement that excludes Turley is valid.

“We have demonstrated this through our drilling activities and our agreement with Libya,” he reportedly said.

Turkey’s agreement with Libya last November for the delimitation of their EEZs has angered Cyprus, Greece and other countries in the region, which argue it violates international law and is void.

Later in the day, Cavusoglu met with his Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio and they discussed energy developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cavusoglu said they want the area a be a source of cooperation and not conflict.

“Protecting the rights of the Turkish Cypriots is our responsibility as well, as a guarantor power,” he said.

On his part Di Maio said there needs to be a constructive dialogue between Cyprus and Turkey to ensure security, stability, and cooperation in the region.

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