Turkey drives Muslim Brotherhood campaign against Egyptian and Greek maritime demarcation

Turkey drives Muslim Brotherhood campaign against Egyptian and Greek maritime demarcation
From left,Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Libya's Foreign Minister Tahir Siyala and Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Malta, pose for a photo following their talks, in Tripoli, Libya, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 10 August 2020

Turkey drives Muslim Brotherhood campaign against Egyptian and Greek maritime demarcation

Turkey drives Muslim Brotherhood campaign against Egyptian and Greek maritime demarcation
  • Dozens of Brotherhood websites launched from Turkey shared fabricated reports and photos attacking the agreement

CAIRO: Turkey has sought help from the Muslim Brotherhood in Qatar and Ankara for its campaign against the Egyptian and Greek demarcation of their respective maritime borders.

The campaign began when the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that it considered the agreement between Cairo and Athens “null,” and that the area covered by it fell within the scope of Turkey’s interests, claiming it “violated Libyan maritime borders.”

It also came amid the backdrop of controversial Turkish energy exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“It is surprising that such statements and allegations were made by a party that does not know the agreement and its details,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ahmed Hafez, tweeted of Turkey’s stance.

The Turkish statement was followed by a series of attacks from the Muslim Brotherhood on social media, criticizing agreement and accusing Egypt of plotting against Turkey.

Dozens of Brotherhood websites launched from Turkey shared fabricated reports and photos attacking the agreement.

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Various experts and officials refuted the allegations made by the sites and social media accounts, which claimed that the agreement between Egypt and Greece to demarcate the borders gave a green light to the Israeli gas pipeline, EastMed, to export gas to Europe through Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete to the mainland.

According to former Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister Mohamed Hegazy, the reason for Turkey’s anger was that after this deal, as well as the signing of the border demarcation agreement between Greece and Italy, Turkey no longer had a maritime entrance point to Libya in line with the rules of international law.

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Dozens of Brotherhood websites launched from Turkey shared fabricated reports and photos attacking the agreement.

He added that the UN secretary-general had refused to deposit the maritime agreement that Turkey concluded with the Fayez Al-Sarraj government in Libya, and that Libya’s Parliament had not adopted it.

The agreement between Egypt and Greece comes two months after the latter signed its agreement with Italy regarding the demarcation of the exclusive economic zone between the two countries in the Ionian Sea, in a first step that nullified the agreement between Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Al-Sarraj.

Regional security expert Muhammad Jumaa said in statement to the Masrawy website: “The Turkish allegations are based on its non-recognition of Cyprus and consequently the lack of recognition of its maritime borders. It believes that Cyprus is very close to its borders and recognises its limits of influence in the Mediterranean, so Turkey wants to bypass Cyprus as if it does not exist, as it sees that Libya is 2,000 nautical miles away from it.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that this agreement allowed Egypt and Greece to move forward in maximizing the utilization of the resources available in their exclusive economic zone, especially oil and gas reserves, and opened new horizons for more regional cooperation in the energy field in light of the two countries’ membership in the East Mediterranean Gas Forum.

“The demarcation of the maritime border between Egypt and Greece cancels the agreement of Turkey and the Al-Sarraj government, as it covers some of the areas covered by that agreement. Greece respects international law, unlike Turkey, which is acting in hostility with Egypt,” Clianeth Kyriakides, a professor of security and strategic studies, said.

Under the agreement, Egypt will be able to explore for oil and gas in the western economic zones located on the maritime borders with those of Greece. It will also give the right to Egypt and Greece to search and explore in the eastern Mediterranean, and  strengthen the bilateral relationship between Cairo and Athens.


Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Updated 03 December 2020

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister

Egypt’s 14-fold population rise in 135 years a ‘national problem’: Govt. minister
  • The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics: minister

CAIRO: Egypt’s 14-fold population increase between 1882 and 2017 had created a “national problem” that required urgent attention, a government minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Health and Population Tarek Tawfik revealed that over the 135-year period the number of people living in the country had shot up from 6.7 million to 94.8 million.

The rise had impacted on each individual’s share of education, health, and available resources, affecting overall demographics, he added.

“(The population increase) is a national problem that needs to be solved through the collaboration of efforts between all the ministries, governmental, and non-governmental institutions, and the civil society,” Tawfik said.

He pointed out that the Egyptian National Population Council was currently drafting public policy documentation in collaboration with The American University in Cairo (AUC) aimed at resolving some of the country’s population-related issues.

Plans in the pipeline included awareness campaigns on family sizes, food and water security, and sustainability.

The council’s former rapporteur, Dr. Amr Hassan, said that a family planning project due to be launched early next year, would help to cut the birth rate in Egypt by 1 million.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Leslie Reed, AUC President Francis Joseph Ricciardone, and Tawfik recently launched the Strengthening Egypt’s Family Planning Program (SEFPP) youth competition, part of a $31 million initiative previously signed with the USAID to improve population health results.

Al-Mashat said that improving general healthcare, reproductive health, and family planning services were key to achieving economic empowerment for men and women.

She pointed out that the SEFPP youth competition was aimed at paving the way for the implementation of new and effective solutions to the issues and involved the Egyptian government, educational institutions and universities, youth, and civil society organizations represented by the USAID.

The program was designed to tackle the over-population problem through innovative techniques, developing youth ideas on family planning schemes, and raising awareness throughout the country.