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.
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.