Turkey blackmailed Libya for maritime deal, says Greek foreign minister

The agreement signed last month between Ankara and Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) government to redefine Turkey’s maritime borders is a result of Ankara’s blackmail to the embattled north African country, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Sunday.

The bilateral memorandum of understanding, delineating common maritime boundaries in the Mediterranean, is completely devoid of substance, Greek newspaper Kathimerini quoted Dendias as saying.

The agreement signed on Nov. 27, Turkey and Libya's Tripoli-based GNA during a between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and GNA head Fayez Al Sarraj ignores territorial waters around the divided island of Cyprus and number of Greek islands, including Crete.

Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which seek to build a pipeline carrying gas to Europe across those waters, have all objected to the agreement.

“The Turkish move had been anticipated since July and a series of actions had been undertaken to prevent it,” it quoted Dendias as telling TV station Ant1. “Despite that, the Tripoli government, blackmailed by Turkey, obviously because of the advances made by General Haftar('s army) in recent days, signed the text’’. 

Ankara backs the internationally recognised Islamist-rooted Libyan GNA government in Tripoli, reportedly supplying drones, weapons and trucks to boost its efforts in the ongoing conflict in Libya, which has torn by violence and division since 2011.

“Our country will prepared a note that will be submitted to the United Nations and will take all those measures in the framework of international law and the law of the seas that will demonstrate the invalidity (of the memorandum),” the Greek foreign minister said.

Dendias also said that Greece and Egypt were already engaged in talks to delineate their own Exclusive Economic Zones in the region.