By Muhammed Ikbal Arslan
LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (AA) – The Greek Cypriot Administration's cooperation with East Libyan-based commander Khalifa Haftar is unacceptable, the prime minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said Sunday.
"In order to usurp the rights of Turkey and the TRNC, the Greek Cypriot's cooperation with General Khalifa Haftar — who is fighting against the government in Libya, which is recognized by the world — is a non-acceptable position," Ersin Tatar said in a statement.
Saying that the TRNC is closely following developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Tatar stressed that with Turkey, they are decisive in protecting national and strategic rights.
Referring to the visit Saturday to Greek Cyprus by Aguila Saleh Issa, the head of Libya’s parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk backed by Haftar, Tatar said it was anti-Turkey and showed the need to profoundly evaluate the TRNC's foreign policy.
Salih met with Greek Cypriot parliamentary speaker Demetris Syllouris and Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.
Following the meeting, they claimed the maritime pact between Turkey and Libya violated international law. However, Libya’s Tripoli-based government condemned Syllouris' statement.
Turkey, as a guarantor nation for the TRNC, is currently carrying out hydrocarbon exploration activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with two drilling vessels.
Ankara has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
On Nov. 27, Ankara and Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) signed two separate pacts: one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The maritime pact asserted Turkey's rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area. It went into effect on Dec. 8.
Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi 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.