Turkey may negotiate maritime demarcation with Egypt - foreign minister

Turkey could negotiate and sign with Egypt a maritime demarcation deal in the eastern Mediterranean depending on the course of the relationship between the two countries, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Wednesday.

Ankara views positively Egypt’s exploration bids, which have respected Turkey’s continental shelf in the region, state-run Anadolu news agency cited Çavuşoğlu as saying in a news conference with his Georgian counterpart Davit Zalkaliani in Ankara.

Egypt and Turkey have suffered from tensions since a military coup in Egypt in 2013 brought President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to power, after which he began a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, frequently condemned Sisi as a dictator and became a safe haven for Egyptian exiles opposed to the government in Cairo.

"Egypt continues carrying out its activities like seismic exploration and licensing within its continental shelf. In doing so, it continues to respect our continental shelf. We welcome this positively," Çavuşoğlu said. 

"Depending on the course of our relations, we could also sign an agreement with Egypt by negotiating maritime jurisdictions," the Turkish foreign minister added.

Turkey in Dec. 2019 signed a similar maritime border agreement with Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), which was met with regional and international disapproval.