Greece ratifies maritime deal with Egypt

Greece’s parliament ratified a controversial maritime agreement with Egypt on boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean on Thursday, Anadolu news agency reported.

Greece signed an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) deal with Egypt on Aug. 7.

Anadolu cited the Turkish Foreign Ministry as slamming Greece and Egypt’s agreement for being "null and void".

The vote on the deal came after visits on to Greece and Turkey on Monday by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who encouraged both countries to engage in dialogue to solve disputes over hydrocarbon exploration rights in the region.

The Greek-Egyptian agreement was a response to a maritime borders deal signed by Turkey and Libya in November.

Greece and Turkey have long disagreed on overlapping claims to hydrocarbon resources in the region, with both sides holding conflicting views of how far their continental shelves extend.

Tensions in the region spiked this month following a move by Ankara on Aug. 10 to send the navy-escorted Oruç Reis research ship into a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean. Greece responded by dispatching its own military assets and conducting military exercises in the area with Cyprus and France.

Turkish fighter jets harassed Greek planes returning to base on Crete on Thursday after a joint military exercise with Cypriot, French and Italian forces in the eastern Mediterranean, Greek Reporter said.

Turkish planes attempted to harry six Greek F-16s, resulting in mock dogfights.