Greece announces agreement to demarcate maritime borders with Egypt

Nikolaos Garilidis. (Photo/Twitter)
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Updated 19 July 2020

Greece announces agreement to demarcate maritime borders with Egypt

  • Maj. Gen. Samir Farag: The agreement signed between Turkey and the GNA was invalid because the Libyan parliament did not approve it, and the agreement did not respect UN law on territorial waters

CAIRO: Greece’s Ambassador to Egypt Nikolaos Garilidis has said that Athens and Cairo are on the verge of signing an agreement on maritime borders.

In an interview with a Greek newspaper, Garilidis said that Turkey, which last year signed a controversial maritime demarcation deal with the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, “would not like” the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) demarcation agreement between Greece and Egypt.

“It is up to Turkey to maintain good relations with its neighbors. If Turkey leaves its Ottoman ideas behind, Greece could support its participation in economic cooperation plans,” Garilidis said.

The near accord comes at a time when Turkey is seeking a foothold in Libya to control its oil and to be strategically placed in the disputed Mediterranean gas region.

Maj. Gen. Samir Farag, an Egyptian strategic expert, said that the move to demarcate the maritime borders between Egypt and Greece was expected. “What recently happened in the demarcation of the borders between Rome and Athens completely eliminates the legality of the maritime memorandum of understanding between Turkey and the Libyan Al-Wefaq militia” headed by GNA Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, he said.

Farag added that the agreement signed between Turkey and the GNA was invalid because the Libyan parliament did not approve it, and the agreement did not respect UN law on territorial waters.

“When demarcating the borders between Cairo and Athens is completed, all the countries of the region will have drawn up their maritime orders in accordance with international laws, and therefore the Turkish side will have no legitimacy for research and exploration in the Mediterranean gas region,” he said.

Tarek El-Khouly, secretary of the foreign relations committee of the Egyptian Parliament, confirmed that the Egyptian-Greek move to demarcate maritime borders guaranteed the economic rights of the eastern Mediterranean countries and prevented Turkey from stealing the rights of the region’s countries.

El-Khouly added that the move would guarantee, according to international law, the economic rights of Egypt, Greece and other countries in the eastern Mediterranean “as opposed to the goal of the Erdogan regime.”

“(The demarcation of the maritime borders) is part of the international community’s position in its responsibilities to act against Turkish practices that have broken all the rules of international law, as it tries to impose things by force and dismisses the differences between what is right and wrong,” he said.

Mahmoud Attia, a member of the energy committee of the Egyptian Parliament, said that the demarcation of the borders with Greece had many economic benefits, stressing the need for Egypt to set the boundaries for its borders to ensure its rights and the rights of neighboring countries.

Attia described the timing of the border demarcation talks between Egypt and Greece as ideal in light of the current situation and Turkey’s ambitions in the region.

“This step was supposed to happen long ago, but unfortunately it did not take place, and the matter is being rectified at the present time,” Attia said.

A member of the energy committee in parliament confirmed that the border demarcation talks are a response to events taking place in the region.


Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

Pedestrians, wearing face masks, walk in a street of Ankara on November 20, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 24 November 2020

Debate rages over Turkey’s surging pandemic numbers

  • 20% of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return
  • No PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers entering the country. It is a very big mistake

ANKARA: Unofficial sources have warned that numbers of COVID-19 cases in Turkey are skyrocketing.

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) estimated that daily COVID-19 cases have risen to more than 47,500, of which about 12,500 are in Istanbul. This would represent a 300 percent increase in November compared to the month before.

According to official data, however, Turkey recorded 5,103 new COVID-19 patients on Nov. 20 — the second highest new daily figure since March — and its highest daily death toll with 141 fatalities.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu announced that 186 people died from “infectious diseases” in the city on Nov. 22 — more than the official countrywide death toll. (The Turkish health ministry is accused of classifying some COVID-related deaths as "infection-related deaths")

The TTB, whose data drew on figures from 1,270 medics in 76 provinces, claimed that someone in Turkey dies from COVID-19 every 10 minutes. It declared that “they have lost control of the pandemic.”

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms. Following this admission Turkey was put on the UK’s quarantine-on-arrival list in early October.

BACKGROUND

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca previously admitted that they do not include everyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the number of daily cases — they only count those who show symptoms.

Reports drawing on Israeli health ministry data say that 20 percent of Israeli travelers to Turkey in October tested positive for coronavirus on their return home, which experts consider a worryingly high figure.

Everyone arriving in Israel is obliged to self-isolate for 14 days. There is no such an obligation in Turkey.

“The countries which prove successful in managing the pandemic are those that apply strict quarantine rules and rigorously regulate arrivals in the country. But this is not the case in Turkey nowadays,” said Guner Sonmez, a radiologist from Uskudar University in Istanbul.

“Only one case can again trigger a whole chain of contagion and begin a new wave of pandemic. However, no PCR test is required now in Turkish airports for the passengers who enter the country. It is a very big mistake for managing the dynamics of the pandemic.”

Turkey recently re-introduced a partial evening curfew and restrictions on the weekends, although scientists have been urging a full 14-day lockdown.