Turkey to not accept Greece-Egypt Mediterranean deal

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu

Any delimitation on the Mediterranean between Egypt and Greece will not be acceptable if it affects Turkey’s national interest, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said.

Davutoglu made the remarks in an interview published Sunday in a Greek newspaper, To Vima, which he gave at the end of the third High-Level Cooperation Council meeting between Greece and Turkey in Athens on Dec. 6.

“If Greece signs the agreement with Egypt, we would not accept it if it affects our national interests. This agreement will not exist for us,” the premier said.

Ankara believes there can be no demarcation in the Eastern Mediterranean without it.

He also called the trilateral cooperation between Greece-Cyprus-Cairo and Greece-Cyprus-Israel for natural resources “opportunism” that came at a “bad time.”

The heads of state of Cyprus, Egypt and Greece had met on Nov. 8 in Cairo to discuss how to boost their energy cooperation, hoping they could sideline Turkey in the Mediterranean.

Also, Israel recently held talks with the EU to decide if they would invest in a pipeline from its Mediterranean gas fields through Cyprus.

The Turkish premier said the gas pipeline imagined between Israel and Cyprus through Greece to Europe was unsustainable economically and technically.

He denied the cooperation deals were a threat to Turkey. “We do not feel any threat. No one can threaten us,” he said.

“In the Eastern Mediterranean, all arrangements, especially the boundaries on maritime zones should be made after negotiations with all parties. If two parties or three parties declare an Exclusive Economic Zone without consulting the other parties, who are also interested and have a legitimate interest, then it moves against the international law,” he said.

He said the best solution for Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea was to first solve problems between themselves, and then they can talk to third parties.

About the unified treatment of the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, Davutoglu said “they are two different cases geographically. The Eastern Mediterranean does not have many islands, only one, and that even raises great debate.

“The Aegean is more complex, whilst in the Eastern Mediterranean if the Cyprus issue is solved then things can become simpler,” he said.

About oil-and-gas exploration off the Cyprus coast, the prime minister made it clear it could only be possible if talks between Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriot side resumed to solve the dispute.

Otherwise if the problem remains unresolved, either the Turkish Cypriots would have the last word in all aspects of such exploration or the Greek Cypriot administration would get used to the presence of Turkish vessel, Barbaros, off the Cyprus coast.