Turkey’s maritime deal with Libya provocative – U.S. State Department

The U.S. State Department called Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction deal with the U.N.-recognised Libyan government in Tripoli “counterproductive and provocative”, the Greek Reporter said.

A State Department spokesman said the deal was contrary to international law and ignored islands’ rights to an exclusive economic zone based on their continental shelf.

The deal that Ankara and Tripoli struck in November sees Turkey and Libya as maritime neighbours, with the maritime territory claimed by Turkey running past Cyprus and Greek islands including Crete.

“Greece has overlapping maritime claims in the area addressed by Turkey-Libya memorandum, contrary to what Turkey has suggested, under international law (Law of Sea). Islands are generally entitled to EEZ and continental shelf to same extent as any land territory,” the Greek Reporter quoted the State Department spokesman as saying.

Decisions “that do not take into account the interests of all states concerned are provocative,” he said, adding that the United States did not generally take a position on maritime disputes, but in this case was calling on all parties to avoid escalating tensions.

The spokesman’s words echo those of Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Greece, who said that the inhabited Greek islands are on the same footing as the mainland coastline in the delineation of marine zones.

As well as Crete, Turkey’s claim overlaps with areas of Greece’s exclusive economic zone off the islands of Rhodes and Karpathos.