Turkey yesterday accused Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of seeking to form an “alliance of evil” after these countries issued a joint declaration denouncing Ankara’s policies in the eastern Mediterranean and Libya.
The five nations are pursuing “regional chaos and instability” in the eastern Mediterranean and sacrificing Libyans’ “hope for democracy for the reckless aggression of dictators,” Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement
The foreign ministers of the five countries held a teleconference on Monday to discuss the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey has been drilling for potential hydrocarbon deposits in an offshore area where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights, as well as the situation in Libya.
Last year, Turkey signed a contested maritime border delineation deal, as well as a military cooperation agreement with the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.
Turkey says the deal grants it economic rights to a large swath of the east Mediterranean Sea and prevents any energy-related projects from moving forward without Ankara’s consent.
Greece and Cyprus have protested the deal, saying it contravenes international law and infringes on their own rights in the area.
The five nations denounced what they said was Turkey’s sixth attempt in less than a year to “illegally conduct drilling operations in Cyprus’ maritime zones.”
Turkey does not recognize ethnically divided Cyprus as a state and claims much of its exclusive economic zone as its own.
The five also protested the agreements signed with Libya’s UN-backed government as a violation of international law and the UN arms embargo in Libya.
The “Ministers strongly condemned Turkey’s military interference in Libya, and urged Turkey to fully respect the UN arms embargo, and to stop the influx of foreign fighters from Syria to Libya. These developments constitute a threat to the stability of Libya’s neighbors in Africa as well as in Europe,” the five nations said.
In response, the Turkish ministry accused Greece and Cyprus of avoiding dialogue with Turkey and faulted Egypt for not protecting the rights and interests of its own people.
It also charged the UAE of joining the others out of hostility against Turkey and blamed France for allegedly seeking to act as a “patron” to the alliance.
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