Erdoğan slams Libya maritime deal criticism: report

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PHOTO: Foreign Policy

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday lambasted critics of a memorandum of understanding on maritime borders signed last week between Ankara and the Tripoli-based, internationally recognized government of Libya, the Ekathimerini news website reported.

“This step is a sovereign right of Libya and Turkey,” Erdoğan told journalists in Ankara as he prepared to leave for a NATO summit in London, according to Agence-France Presse (AFP).

“We will not debate this sovereign right with you. We will tell them this openly,” AFP reported him as saying in reference to Turkey’s NATO allies.

The details of the agreement with the government of Fayed al-Sarraj have not been released publicly, though it is seen as an attempt by Ankara to claim rights over a large area of the eastern Mediterranean, including parts that fall within Greece’s maritime jurisdiction.

Turkish media said Ankara would provide the United Nations with the coordinates of its new “exclusive economic zone” once the relevant law has been passed by its parliament, AFP reported.

Erdoğan’s comments come a day before he is due to have informal talks with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitostakis in London.

Greece’s prime minister will meet with Turkey’s president on Wednesday in an attempt to ease frictions over energy exploration off Cyprus and Ankara’s deal with Libya on Mediterranean maritime zones, a government spokesman said, according to Reuters.

“We hope the meeting tomorrow will be a meeting where it will be possible to pave the way for a new form of respect for international law and for the two countries’ good neighborly relations,” he told reporters.

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