Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean
Turkey’s latest Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Libya’s Fayez al-Serraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) on 27th November 2019, which determines the maritime borders between two littorals in the Eastern Mediterranean, is an important milestone. The agreement also shows Turkey’s will to struggle against any unfair attempt that would undermine Ankara’s legitimate rights in the region thus, Turkey once again declared that she is ready to defend her interests in Blue Homeland.
Greece’s as well as Greek Cypriots’ Eastern Mediterranean so called delimitation plan to isolate Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots from reserves in the Mediterranean Sea collapsed. Greece’s expulsion of the Libyan ambassador along with its declaration “We are prepared for every possibility against Turkey,” even to the extent of inferring a state of war by high-ranking Greek military officers, shows only the country’s despair.
Turkey has the right to announce the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEC) in the region based on the delimitation agreements both with Libya and TRNC. Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ publication of Turkey’s maritime borders on social media constitutes an unofficial declaration of EEZ. The deal with Libyan government also shows that Turkey is not alone in the Mediterranean Sea. This MoU has also set an example for other neighbouring countries, like Egypt and Syria to follow in signing comparable agreements with Turkey.
Turkey has reason to question the full authority of the Greek Cypriot Administration in determining maritime borders given that the Administration is not a sovereign state since the administration does not represent the entire island. Israel loses 6,000 square kilometres including the Aphrodite gas field in the current agreement with the Greek Cypriot Administration. Egypt loses 15,000 square kilometres if they draw their median line in accordance with the Greek islands, such as Crete, instead of mainland Greece. However, Greek Cypriot Administration was able to draw median lines with Egypt although they have no such right under the terms of international law of the sea.
The Eastern Mediterranean question holds vital importance as it is not only a matter of maritime sovereignty rights but involves the future of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the foundation of a puppet Kurdish state in Syria that aims to reach the Mediterranean via Syria.