Greece summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Athens on Thursday, following the country’s agreement with Libya over the Mediterranean Sea to protect its rights in the region provided by international law.
Turkey and Libya signed two separate deals Wednesday following a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and head of the Presidential Council of Libya's U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al Sarraj, in Istanbul.
One of the deals was critically important as it enabled Turkey to secure its rights in the Mediterranean while preventing any fait accompli by other regional states.
Reacting to the deal, Greece claimed that the move was against the international maritime law as well as the principles of the good-neighborly ties. According to German media service dpa, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias summoned Turkey’s Athens Envoy Burak Özügergin, demanding an explanation for the case.
However, for many experts, the case itself is self-explanatory. The Turkey-Libya memorandum of understanding (MoU) on maritime delimitation has provided a legal framework to prevent any fait accompli by regional states.
Accordingly, attempts by the Greek government to appropriate part of the continental shelf that belongs to Libya, which is approximately 39,000 square meters in area, since 2011 by exploiting the political crisis in the North African country have been averted.
The agreement also confirmed that Turkey and Libya are now maritime neighbors. The delimitation starts from Turkey's southwestern coast of Fethiye-Marmaris-Kaş and extends to the Derna-Tobruk-Bordia coastline of Libya.
The maritime delimitation agreement also recognizes Turkey's rights in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) extending into the southeast of the island of Crete, thwarting any illegal attempts to confine the country's EEZ in the Mediterranean into an area of 41,000 square meters.
Meanwhile, Greek media outlets started to call the government to change its stance on Libya and back Haftar-backed forces. The Greek daily, Proto Thema, said Friday the summoning of the Turkish envoy was not enough and supporting Haftar’s forces should be considered as a political move to strengthen Greek’s hands in the region.
Libya has been in turmoil since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of former President Moammar Gadhafi after more than four decades in power.
Since then, Libya's stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power, one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli, and a host of heavily armed militia groups. The military, pushed by Khalifa Haftar's army, allied with a parallel eastern administration based in Benghazi, marking a dangerous escalation of a power struggle that has dragged on since Gadhafi's overthrow.
Haftar is not recognized by the international community, as the elected parliament of the country is centered in Tripoli. However, Haftar, with the financial and political support of certain countries, including some Gulf states, has appeared as an influential actor in the war-torn country.