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Politics

Mitsotakis Says Turkey-Libya Maritime Deal Threat to Region

February 28, 2020

ALEXANDROUPOLIS – As he has tried to build an international alliance against a deal Turkey made with Libya to divide the seas between them – including waters off Greek islands – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it’s a danger to regional stability and violation of international law.

Speaking in the northern Greek city of Alexandroupoli near the Turkish border, on the sidelines of the 4th Greece-Bulgaria High Level Cooperation Council, Mitsotakis called the deal “invalid,” adding that “it does not produce a legal effect” in maritime zone delineation.

“On the contrary, it is a threat to all neighboring states, it violates international law and it obviously undermines (efforts to reach) a solution in Libya,” where there is a divided government and both sides trying to take control, he said, reported Kathimerini.

Greece’s complaint that a deal Turkey made with Libya, dividing the seas between them and claiming waters off Greek islands, was dealt a blow when the United Nations’ Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea was set to post maps outlining the coordinates.

That will be done even though Turkey doesn’t recognize the UN’s Law of the Sea nor parts of Greece’s Continental Shelf while hiking provocations in the Aegean as well as the East Mediterranean where it is unlawfully drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters.

The posting of the map, said Kathimerini, means the UN will de facto give Turkey the recognition it has been seeking although Greece was joined by the European Union in claiming the deal violates international law.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, emboldened by the EU having only a tepid response to drilling off Cyprus and fearing he will unleash millions more refugees and migrants on the bloc through Greek islands has become more aggressive.

Turkey said the posting of the maps by the UN will essentially make the memorandum official and will pave the way to begin exploratory drilling activities for natural resources off the island of Crete, which Turkey claims is its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – which it doesn’t recognize for Cyprus.

The Greek islands of Kasos, Karpathos, Kastellorizo and Rhodes aren’t on the map put up by Turkey and Libya, invisible, which the UN will agree with recognizing the maritime deal.

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