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Turkey Says Cyprus, Greece Have No Rights to the Seas

Αssociated Press

Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

NICOSIA - With it ships drilling for oil and gas off Cyprus, Turkey said the island’s legitimate government has no right to declare an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where foreign companies were also licensed to hunt for energy.

Nor to Greek islands, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said after Turkey said it owns much of the Aegean and East Mediterraenean, including around Rhodes and as far as Crete, setting off anger from Greece.

Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency, citing sources it didn’t name, said the Foreign Ministry - using international laws of the seas that Turkey doesn’t recognize when not in its favor - disputed Cypriot and Greek claims to have an EEZ and the continental shelf.

Comparing islands with other countries’ mainland may give them less continental shelf/ EEZ, Turkey said, arguing that factors such as the size, the length of the facade and the location of the islands and how far away from the mainland they are located must be taken into account.

That was used as the basis for Turkey to sign a pact with Libya, setting new maritime borders with the two countries claiming huge swathes of the seas between them, cutting out Greece and Turkey almost completely.