The defense Minister of Greece Nikolaos Panayotopoulos reported the threat of use of force by a NATO ally that, according to him, undermines the solidarity of the Alliance. Speech probably goes about Ankara. Earlier the Prime Minister condemned “the aggressive behavior of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean sea” during his meeting with Israeli counterpart. The fact that Ankara and the national consensus Government (NTC) of Libya have signed in the end of last year a Memorandum that directly affects the interests of Greece, Israel and Cyprus.
The defense Minister of Greece Nikolaos Panayotopoulos said the threat of the use of force by NATO member. He said this during a teleconference of the Ministers of defence of NATO.
The Minister condemned the threat of force ship allies against other allied ships, took place in the Mediterranean sea last week. He also noted that such a “problematic and unprecedented behavior” undermines the cohesion of the Alliance.
Panayotopoulos did not specify what country it is, but probably he was referring to Turkey. Last week the ship of the Turkish Navy was not allowed to inspect the ship heading towards the shores of Libya.
European military ships involved in the operation IRINI for the implementation of the arms embargo against Libya, wanted to inspect a cargo ship under the flag of Tanzania, which was under the protection of the ships of the Turkish Navy.
However, they failed to inspect the ship because of the refusal to allow inspection, said earlier at a press conference in Brussels, European Commission spokesman Peter Stano.
“Since the beginning of the operation, IRINI inspected 75 of the courts in this area, it is included in the mandate of the operation. On Wednesday, the operation was conducted in an attempt to conduct an inspection of a cargo ship, but had not received a positive response, we find out the circumstances of the incident,” — said Stano.
TV channel Sky News Arabia later clarified that we are talking about the Turkish ship that was heading to a port in Western Libya. This region is controlled by the Government of national consent headed by Fitom Barragem. However, the Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers supported the Libyan national army, led by field Marshal Khalifa the Haftarot, do not recognize this power and control of the Western part of the country.
At the end of last year, Turkey and the Palestinian national consensus Government of Libya (NTC) approved in November signed a Memorandum on military cooperation and on mutual understanding on Maritime zones.
According to the document, Turkey can at any moment to put their troops, if requested by Sarraj. Before that, however, is not reached, however, Ankara has sent additional weapons and military advisers, despite the fact that the result of the Berlin conference on Libya, was the confirmation of embargo on arms supplies to Libya, and the refusal to provide military assistance to any of the parties to the conflict.
Turkey’s involvement affected the course of the conflict. On 4 June, the NTC fighters regained control over Tripoli, and the day before the government army after 14 months of fighting, knocked out of the capital airport detachments of the Haftarot.
Meanwhile, among the involved in the conflict of external players, there are those who are extremely dissatisfied with the part of Ankara. In particular, the indignation expressed by Greece, Israel and Cyprus, as the agreement of Turkey and PNS directly affect the interests of these countries.
The fact that between Turkey and Libya is the Greek island of Crete. Ankara published at the end of last year, the map of Maritime zones, constructed in accordance with the agreement between Turkey and Sarracen. Right on the shelf over the Greek Islands are not recognized.
After the signing of the Memorandum Greece has demanded from the Ambassador of Libya in Athens to present the text of the document, which the Libyan side has not done. On 6 December, the Minister of foreign Affairs of Greece Nikos Dendias during a briefing personally announced the expulsion of the Ambassador, noting that obtained from other sources the text of the Memorandum “has confirmed the fears of Greece.”
“The attempt to redefine the borders are illegal and will have consequences. She is provocative. It should be condemned unconditionally,” said Dendias.
Of course, Ankara’s actions aimed not only to support the NTC of Libya. The signing of a Memorandum affects a particular interest of Mediterranean countries in natural gas reserves.
The document was perceived as steps by Turkey to counteract to the attempts of Greece and Cyprus to claim the right to develop gas fields.
The situation in Cyprus is associated with the old and unresolved regional conflict. The island has been divided since the Turkish invasion in 1974 and all attempts of the UN to facilitate the arrangements to no avail. The confrontation has acquired a new shape, when Cyprus became a member of the European Union, which makes all of its disputes with Turkey to the dispute between Brussels and Ankara.
In 2017, the tension increased in connection with the rights to drill off the island. Ankara is showing dissatisfaction with the fact that Cyprus has entered into agreements with international companies and other countries. Turkey insists that all energy resources in the region should be divided between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish part of the island.
Signed by Erdogan and Saragam a Memorandum of understanding on Maritime zones conducts a vertical line through the Mediterranean sea, disrupting the plans of Greece, Cyprus and Israel for drilling of oil and gas. Natural gas reserves in the region estimated at about 122 trillion cubic meters.
Agreement Erdogan and Zarraga has irritated the EU, which in early December issued a statement condemning Ankara’s actions.
“It is essential that international Maritime law, the principle of good neighbourly relations, sovereignty and sovereign rights in respect of the Maritime zones of all neighbouring coastal States, including Islands created them, are respected. All members of the international community should respect these principles and to refrain from any action that would undermine regional stability and security,” the statement reads.
Turkey, however, said in response that the EU has no right to declare the Memorandum illegal.
“This document came into force. Our goal is not to take away from someone his right in the Mediterranean sea, and to prevent the usurpation of our rights. We wanted to limit the boundaries of our coast. This agreement is fully legal,” — said Erdogan.
Soon, the country made a step back. In January, Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades signed an agreement on the construction of the EastMed pipeline to transport gas from the Eastern Mediterranean to Europe. EastMed Turkey is perceived as a direct competitor to the “Turkish stream”.
The acceleration of the procedure of conclusion of agreements on gas pipeline construction was a response to the Memorandum, Turkey and Libya. The pipeline may pass between Cyprus and Greece in the Memorandum, Turkey declared the territory its Maritime zone.
Ankara, which predictably, oppose the agreement. Last week, the Turkish military conducted air and naval exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean.
June 16 Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis met in Israel with his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu. One of the topics discussed hand, Turkey and its intervention in the Libyan conflict, which affected their interest.
“I told the Prime Minister about the recent cases of illegal and provocative behaviour of Turkey on our Maritime and land borders, said the Greek Prime Minister, standing next to Netanyahu.
The Minister during the press conference touched on the Libyan question. He stressed that the only solution to the conflict is diplomatic negotiations, and countries that supply weapons to Libya must stop violating the UN embargo.
Moreover, after meeting Netanyahu and Mitsotakis reiterated the intention of the parties to build a pipeline. They also discussed the possibility of expanding the forum EastMed Gas to a constant energy cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.
This initiative to support the United States. During the talks the Ministers discussed the deepening of trilateral cooperation Greece-Cyprus-Israel in the framework of the “3+1”, which also includes the United States.
Thus, Mitsotakis sent sufficiently clear signals to Ankara, stating “destabilizing effect that Turkey has played against Libya”.
Moreover, the Greek Prime Minister condemned “the aggressive behavior of Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean sea”.
“We believe that this activity poses a threat to peace and stability in the region”, — said Mitsotakis to journalists after a meeting with Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.