Libya, Turkey spark anger in region with new maritime agreement

EYEAFRICA TV: Cairo, Egypt: Libya and Turkey have sparked tensions in the East Mediterranean region after officially approving a contentious water border memorandum of understanding (MoU) that affects the maritime border between Greece, Cyprus and Egypt.
The contentious maritime deal between Turkey and Libya’s UN-recognized government, the Government of National Accord (GNA), will see Turkey secure rights over a portion of the eastern Mediterranean.
“Egypt, Greece and Cyprus have drawn the water borders between them based on the UN’s sea-border agreement. The MoU between Turkey and GNA ignores that. That will definitely infuse more crises in the Mediterranean,” said Ahmed Goumaa, a researcher of Libyan affairs.
For Turkey, the benefits are huge, not only in terms of economic, but also military and influence in the East Mediterranean region.
“Turkey benefits greatly from this political agreement. It enables Turkey to expand its influence in the East Mediterranean and North Africa. Turkey gets rights to search for oil and gas in sovereign territories and it also benefits militarily and economically in Libya,” said Goumaa.
And for Fayez Al Sarraj, head of Libya’s UN-backed legal regime in Lybia, the agreement gives him a great opportunity to forge a deeper partnership with Turkey and secure an ally as his rivals continue to try to seize the capital city of Tripoli for the past eight months.
With arms support from Turkey, Sarraj’s backing millitias will be able to defeat his enemies.
Yasmine Hani, head of foreign affairs with Al Ahram, said the move further complicates the situation in Libya.
“This MoU aims to give legitimacy to the flow of Turkish arms to the militias backing Fayez Al Sarraj. Therefore it is complicating the field battles and diminishing hopes for political solution in Libya,” said Hani.
Diplomatic tension have already begun with statements from Egypt, Greece and Cyprus following the agreement.
The situation escalated on Friday with Greece expelling the Libyan ambassador.

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