Turkey and Libya strike deal on maritime borders
Libya and Turkey have signed a military agreement on maritime borders. According to Ankara the deal serves to protect Turkish rights in the eastern Mediterranean, including access to resources such as natural gas. Greece says the deal violates international maritime law, because it ignores the island of Crete's jurisdiction. The positions of the two governments are reflected in their countries' media.
Don't let other states' frustration get in the way
It's hardly surprising that other neighbouring Mediterranean countries are angry, Daily Sabah comments:
“Obviously, the deal effectively blocks any similar agreement between Greece, Egypt, and the Greek Cypriots. At the same time, it strengthens Turkey's legal arguments regarding its drilling and seismic research activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Hence the strong reaction from Egypt and Greece to Turkey's latest move. Their frustration, however, cannot stop the two maritime neighbours from defining their borders.”
The time for being nice is over
Athens should avoid the kind of harsh rhetoric being used by Ankara, but it shouldn't go on putting up with everything either, Liberal concludes:
“In the modern world those who build alliances win, not those who try to revive empires according to the standards of the Middle Ages and feudalism. We can't rule out the idea of sitting down at a table with Turkey to discuss matters. What we must rule out is a continuation of the previous policy which landed us in the present impasse. As it turned out, the policy of partnership and being nice have no future. ... There are no alternative policies in international relations or in business. They have been tested and failed, and even caused great damage.”
Ankara working towards a "Light Blue Homeland"
Greece is right to react so fiercely, columnist Xenia Tourki writes in Phileleftheros:
“Ankara wants to establish a maritime axis between [Libya and Turkey] and to do so it is effectively 'erasing' Crete and the Aegean islands from the map. This is yet another step in the direction of the 'Light Blue Homeland', the plan to conquer a part of the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean on the grounds that beyond their territorial waters these islands have no claim to maritime zones. Although this is just a first draft of the agreement, the consequences could be very serious.”
Illegal - but effective
The agreement underpins what Ankara has been pushing for for years, writes Angelos Syrigos, a professor of international law and member of parliament for the governing Nea Dimokratia party, in Kathimerini:
“Namely that the islands are not entitled to a continental shelf under law. And last but not least, it would shift the point of contention from the Kastellorizo continental shelf to that of Crete.The bad thing is that even though it is illegal, from the moment that it is signed, such a deal can only be overturned if Libya backs out of the agreement or by recourse to international justice - and Turkey will never accept the latter alternative. So, if the delineation has been signed, no matter how illegal, it will always stand in Greece's path.”