Egypt-Turkey tensions reignite over gas – report

Political tensions between Turkey and Egypt, which mounted following the deposing of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, are ratcheting up again, this time over ownership of natural gas fields in the Mediterranean.

Egypt has reacted angrily to Turkish statements claiming ownership of the fields, located off the island of Cyprus, which is divided into Greek and Turkish communities, said Mohammed Nabil Helmi in Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu has said Turkey considers a 2013 Egyptian-Cypriot agreement to explore and utilise natural gas in the island’s economic zone as invalid and said Turkey plans to begin its own search.

In response, Egypt’s foreign ministry stated that the legality of the accord is indisputable and has been recognised by the United Nations, Helmi said.

Major General Mamdouh Mokled of the National Defense and Security Committee in Egypt’s parliament said Turkey’s approach was “a continuation of the hostile situation against Egypt by the Turkish president.”

Cairo and Ankara cut diplomatic ties following Morsi’s departure in 2013. Turkey has been a major supporter of Muslim Brotherhood movements throughout the region.