By Davut Demircan
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey on Friday criticized a European Council decision rejecting last month’s Turkish-Libyan maritime pact.
“The European Union has no authority to decide maritime jurisdiction and the EU is not an international court, they cannot give a verdict on the legality of the Libyan agreement,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
He said the EU leaders in Brussels claiming the pact “violates the sovereign rights of third countries” is another example of EU hypocrisy toward Turkey.
“The EU was silent when the Greek Cypriot administration made an agreement, acting like regular state and representing the entire island even they had no authority with regional countries against Turkey and Turkish Cypriots in 2003, 2007, and 2010. The EU ignored Greece’s occupation of Libya’s continental shelf,” he added.
Aksoy stressed: “This attitude cannot discourage us from defending the rights and interests of our country and the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean.”
Twenty-seven member of the EU gathered Friday in Brussels and agreed on a statement claiming Turkish-Libyan maritime pact “violates the sovereign rights of third countries.”
-Turkish-Libyan maritime pact
The pact was signed Nov. 27 and passed Turkey's parliament Dec. 5. It went into effect Dec. 8 after the two countries published it in their respective official gazettes.
The memorandum determining both countries' marine jurisdictions rejects unilateral and illegal activities by other regional countries and international firms and aims to protect the rights of both countries.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Mediterranean region is estimated to hold millions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic meters of natural gas worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Turkey urged regional countries to take an equality-based approach, but its calls have largely fallen on deaf ears. Turkey continues its drilling and discovery operations in the region under the protection of the country's navy.
Since 2011, when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed, Libya has seen the emergence of two rival seats of power: one in eastern Libya to which military commander Khalifa Haftar is affiliated and the Government of National Accord, which enjoys UN recognition.