Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Ankara on Tuesday responded to a complaint from Athens concerning a map published in the Turkish government’s gazette outlining areas where Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has applied for exploration licenses, including several within Greece’s continental shelf, by insisting that these areas are within the boundaries Turkey has submitted to the United Nations.
“Our country will continue to resolutely exercise its sovereign rights in this area, which it has announced many times. We are fully determined to protect the rights of our country and those of the Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean. In this framework, our seismic research and drilling activities are carried out according to the previously determined program,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Tuesday, responding to a complaint from Athens.
The map in question shows 24 blocks that Ankara has demarcated from its shores to the point where its sea borders meet Libya’s, based on the maritime border agreement it signed with the North African country’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) last year.
The agreement has been fiercely condemned by Greece as a violation of its sovereign rights. It has been declared illegal by Cyprus, Israel and Egypt as well, while the European Union has also opposed it.
Denouncing Ankara’s efforts to “usurp Greece’s sovereign rights,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Monday that “Turkey’s illegal activities do not produce any legal effects.”
“Let us be clear. Our views on this issue and on the consequences of Turkish illegality are well-known. They have been repeatedly conveyed to Turkey,” he said. “Greece was and remains fully prepared to deal with this provocation, if Turkey decides to implement it,” Dendias added.
Athens sees the map as an illustration of Turkey’s claims that encroach on Greek sovereign rights, as some of these blocks are located 6 nautical miles east of Rhodes, Karpathos, Kassos and eastern Crete.
Turkey’s Ambassador to Greece Burak Ozugergin was summoned to the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens on Monday, where he was handed a demarche.