Gas fields causing dispute?
Photo: Reuters

Report: Turkey upset over Israel-Cyprus deal

Turkish website says Ankara reprimanded Israeli ambassador over territorial water division. PM Erdogan says agreement futile until peace agreement reached with Syria, Lebanon and Palestinians

An agreement meant to prevent disputes over oil and gas fields may stir diplomatic crisis in Mediterranean: Turkish sources said Sunday that Foreign Ministry officials had summoned Israel's Ambassador to Turkey Gabby Levy and expressed discontent over an agreement signed between Israel and Cyprus, which demarcates the exclusive economic zone within the territorial waters of the two countries and divides their rights to search for oil and gas reservoirs in the Mediterranean Sea.


According to a report published by a Turkish website, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan firmly opposes any maritime agreement between Cyprus and countries in the eastern Mediterranean, because it undermines the status of Turkish Cyprus and its stake of the territorial waters.


During the meeting with Levy, officials at the Turkish Foreign Ministry stressed that "Turkey opposes the agreement until a just and inclusive solution is reached in the Cyprus conflict."


Turkey is the only country in the world that recognizes Turkish Cyprus.


The report also stated that Turkey would not hesitate sending its naval forces to the area, in order to thwart any oil field exploration.


According to the report, Turkey sees any such maritime agreement futile as long as there is no comprehensive peace agreement between Israel, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinians.


The Foreign Ministry issued a statement in response, saying the agreement "was not meant to harm other countries in the region."


The ministry emphasized the importance of the agreement and stated it was "the first time Israel's western border was set."


On Friday, Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau and Cyprus' Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou signed an agreement that set the exclusive economic zone within the territorial waters of the two countries. The clarification of the borderline is essential in protecting Israel's rights to oil and underwater gas reservoirs in the future.



Ronen Medzini contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 12.19.10, 23:03
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