Dbaiba Government & Turkey Decry Greece’s Drilling Operations South of Crete


Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara, along with the Tripoli-based government in Libya, were together protesting against seismic surveys and drilling that Greece is due to carry out, south of Crete, according to Greece’s Ekathimerini newspaper.

In his speech at the Turkish Parliament’s budget debate, on Tuesday, Cavusoglu criticized Greece’s objections to the Turkish-Libyan memorandum on hydrocarbons, signed in Tripoli in October.

“Last week, in view of Greece’s decision to carry out hydrocarbon activities in southern Crete, Libya took steps to defend the Maritime Jurisdiction Agreement it signed with Turkey. Again, last week, curiously, Greece complained to the United Nations about the hydrocarbons agreement we signed with Libya in October,” he noted.

He added that “immediately afterwards, together with Libya, we sent our joint response in this letter to the UN with our permanent representatives in New York.”

“The difference, however, is that Greece’s letter contains demagoguery, as does its response to the letters we gave on the demilitarized islands, while our letter contains legal arguments. This achievement will determine the balance in the eastern Mediterranean for generations to come,” he concluded.

Last week, the Libyan Foreign Ministry denounced Greece’s “irresponsible acts” in the Mediterranean. The Libyan Foreign Ministry claimed that Athens had contracted with some international companies to conduct gas and oil exploration in the disputed Libyan-Greek maritime borders, specifically to the south and southwest of Crete.

The Foreign Ministry stated that “it will continue to defend Libya’s maritime borders with all possible legal and diplomatic means.”

The statement noted that there are reports that proved the validity of the research and exploration work for Greece’s oil and gas exploration. This is being carried out by the ship, SANCO SWIFT in the eastern Mediterranean.

“Greece is working hard to exploit the Libyan crisis and impose a fait accompli in defining the Libyan-Greek maritime borders,” the statement said.

Tensions rose after Libya and Turkey signed a series of economic agreements, that included potential energy exploration in maritime areas.

The agreements will allow for oil and gas exploration in Libyan waters, and come three years after the two countries signed a maritime border deal, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said after signing the MoU in Tripoli.

Earlier this month, Greece formally denounced the new energy MoU signed between Ankara and Libya’s Government of National Unity (GNU) in a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

The letter said, according to Greece’s newspaper EKathimerini, that Greece “rejects the new Turkish-Libyan hydrocarbons memorandum, as it violates Greece’s sovereign rights and international law. It is also a deliberate escalation that undermines stability in the region.”