A new Turkish-Libyan agreement reignites tensions between Athens and Ankara

Between Athens and Ankara, calms never last long. On Monday, October 3, it was the signing of a “memorandum of understanding” for hydrocarbon prospecting between the Tripoli government and Turkey that revived tensions. The details of the agreement are not known, but it foresees “to develop projects related to the exploration, production and transportation of oil and gas”according to Tripoli government spokesman Mohamed Hamouda.

According to the Greek press, it is doubtful that exploration can take place beyond the Libyan border in maritime areas claimed by other Mediterranean countries. In November 2019, a first energy agreement had already been closed between Ankara and the Libyan government of national agreement (the GAN ​​of Faïez Sarraj, based in Tripoli and recognized by the UN). It drew new maritime borders from southwestern Turkey to northeastern Libya, through an area claimed by Greece and Cyprus, crucial to plans for a future gas pipeline. In response, Athens and Cairo had also signed, in August 2020, their own agreement to demarcate maritime borders in the area.

Also read: In Libya, oil production returns to pre-blockade level

“With this new agreement, Turkey wants to find a way to de facto strengthen the Turkish-Libyan memorandum of 2019, which is not recognized by any other country”says Panagiotis Tsakonas, a researcher at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.

deeply divided

For the head of Greek diplomacy, Nikos Dendias, the Tripoli government is devoid of ” legitimacy” to seal such an agreement. In a deeply divided Libya, in effect, it was immediately rejected by the rival administration in Tripoli, located in the east of the country, and supported by a part of Parliament, whose president, Aguila Salah, described the protocol as “illegal and unacceptable”.

Mr. Dendias warned that “Greece will continue to inform its partners and allies of the destabilizing role [joué par] Turkey “. The European Union (EU) also condemned the agreement, “because it is based on a Turkish-Libyan memorandum that goes against the law of the sea and infringes the rights of third States”. “Actions that could undermine regional stability should be avoided”reacted Peter Stano, spokesman for foreign affairs of the European Commission.

read also Why Greece and Turkey collide in the Eastern Mediterranean

“Opposing this cooperation agreement between two sovereign states is contrary to both international law and the fundamental principles of the United Nations”responded, for his part, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Tanju Bilgiç. “EU, specific, it is not an international judicial body that can comment or rule on agreements between sovereign third countries. »

You have 42.71% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *