Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says the memorandum of understanding signed with Libya is an agreement between two sovereign countries, asking other counties to ‘own their own business.’
Libya and Turkey on Monday signed a series of preliminary agreements concerning cooperation in energy exploration in maritime areas and the field of media and communication.
“The new accords were between two sovereign countries – it’s win-win for both, and third countries do not have the right to interfere,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters at a joint press conference with his Libyan counterpart Najla Al-Manqoush.
He reiterated his country’s continued support for Libya and the national reconciliation efforts supervised by the Presidential Council, stressing that “solutions to the Libyan crisis come through dialogue.” Addressing the elections in Libya, the top Turkish diplomat said the electoral process should be decided by Libyans, as he called for a roadmap in this regard.
“Elections must be held transparently, fairly, and democratically. Election results must be embraced by all parties in the country, it is highly important not only for the national unity but also for political stability, and Turkey attaches great importance to this.”
Former admiral estimates value of Libya-Turkey deal at up to $30 trillion
The former Chief of Staff of the Turkish Naval Forces, Admiral Cihat Yaci says there are worth 30 trillion dollars of natural gas north of the Libyan maritime jurisdiction, adding that the area targeted in the MoU recently signed between Turkey and Libya includes the richest hydrocarbon deposits in the world.
On Monday, the Libyan side signed two agreements on energy and gas. The deal was inked by Foreign Minister Najla Al-Manqoush and Minister of Economy and Trade Muhammad Al-Hawij with their Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and Fatih Donmez. The agreement drew contradictory reactions locally, regionally, and internationally.
The Turkish Haber 7 website quoted Admiral Yaci as saying on Wednesday, that Turkish ships can start seismic research and survey activities within a few months. Regarding Greece’s objections to the agreement, he noted Athena wants “to swallow up an area the size of four Cypriot islands in the Mediterranean.”
Yaci -nicknamed the architect of the maritime agreement between Ankara and Tripoli- revealed details about his meetings in Istanbul with representatives of Libya’s eastern region. “I explained to them, through maps and data, that they had acquired a marine area not less than the size of four Cypriot islands, or 40,000 square kilometers, characterized for being rich in oil and gas.”
He stressed the importance of starting exploration and drilling activities in the area between the east of the line drawn in the agreement demarcating the borders of the Libyan-Turkish maritime jurisdiction area and west of the longitude of 28 degrees east.
“We need to start activities immediately, as no seismic research has been conducted so far.”
Yaci underscored the need to put plans into action and commence the first steps to establish the fact that “we do not recognize the Seville map in the eastern Mediterranean.”
Egypt, Greece reject Turkish-Libyan MoU
The dispute between Egypt and Greece on one side and Turkey on the other dates back to November 2019
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and visiting Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias rejected in a joint press conference in Cairo on Sunday the maritime and energy memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed by Libya and Turkey, as Shoukry asked the UN Secretary General to take a stance on the “illegitimacy of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Libya” as it was appointed following a UN-brokered agreement.
Shoukry said the UN shouldn’t be a silent spectator of what it has brokered, referring to the GNU in Libya, which came into office after a UN-led Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in 2021, adding that the international community should fulfill the calls for legitimacy in Libya as per the Security Council’s resolutions. He also said the GNU in Tripoli “isn’t mandated to sign international agreements or MoUs.”
Shoukry also stressed the necessity of holding presidential elections and supporting the efforts of the House of Representatives (HoR), reaffirming the need for mercenaries, foreign fighters and foreign forces to leave Libya as per a specific timeline, adding that he explained to the Greek Foreign Minister the efforts made by Egypt toward Libyan parties and the ongoing consultations on finding a constitutional basis for holding elections.
The Greek Foreign Minister said that the GNU’s mandate had expired and was not a representative of the Libyan people any longer, adding that the GNU couldn’t sign international agreements, saying that Egypt and Greece were working to restore stability to Libya and make the Mediterranean a stable region.
He said that the MoU between the GNU and Turkey was illegal and rejected by the international community.