Recent events in Turkey went by full speed over the last week.
The maritime border agreement signed between Greece and Egypt, the Turkish role in the political incidents after the explosion in Lebanon and the uncontrollable increase in foreign exchange rates were the three main topics on the agenda.
“AN INVALID DEAL”
The agreement signed last week between Greece and Egypt, in which the two countries had mutually determined their maritime borders in the Eastern Mediterranean, got harsh reactions in Turkey.
The first reaction for this agreement, which could be taken as Greece and Egypt declaring their own claims on the Exclusive Economic Zones, determined by the maritime deal between the UN-recognized legitimate Government of National Accord in Libya and Turkey, has come from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
The Foreign Ministry has announced in a written form:
“Greece and Egypt had no mutual sea border. The so-called agreement on delimitation of maritime jurisdictions is null and void for Turkey. This idea will be continued to be shown both on the table and in the field.
The so-called delimited area is located within the Turkish continental shelf, which already had been reported to the United Nations. Egypt, which had already abandoned 11,500 square kilometers (3,352 square nautical miles) of its continental shelf in a previous agreement it signed with Greek Cyprus in 2003, has again lost a large maritime jurisdiction with the so-called agreement signed with Greece today.
The latest treaty seeks to usurp Libya’s maritime rights as well.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has also spoken about the agreement between Athens and Cairo to the Anadolu Agency. Cavusoglu used these following statements:
“it’s obvious by the given coordinates that the deal not only violates the rights and continental shelf of Turkey but also of Libya. Hence, an agreement that violates our continental shelf, which we have reported to the UN, is null and void and the reason why we’ve come to this point is that countries like Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, are trying to sign agreements with Egypt and Israel while ignoring Turkey.”
Minister Cavusoglu stressed that this so-called agreement is non-existent, and that Turkey will continue to protect its rights on the table and in the field.
Another statement on the issue came from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Speaking to the press in front of the Hagia Sophia Mosque, Erdogan said: “The agreement between Greece and Egypt is worthless. And why is that? Now, when we look at the region, does Greece have anything to do with having a maritime border there in relation to Libya, then what is it doing there? Does Egypt also have anything to do with it? No. After we made a deal with Libya, they all jumped in. Of course, the intelligence that comes from there presents the message ‘We did not do this against you, we do not mean a misunderstanding here.’ Whether there is a misunderstanding or not, we will adhere to the agreement with Libya with a high determination, and we will keep doing so.”
The agreement between Greece and Egypt, being made while the negotiations between Ankara and Athens were ongoing, has been criticized among the Turkish public.
AS UWI’s Retired Admiral Cem Gurdeniz reports, Athens and Cairo have made this deal by taking the advantage of the negotiations between Athens and Ankara, which began on Germany’s initiatives after Turkey announcement of NAVTEX on July 21st, during which research vessel RV MTA Oruc Reis was withdrawn from the island of Meyisti (Castellorizo).
Gurdeniz said: “The Greek State always acts in treacherous and insincere actions. I think that, after this incident, our Foreign Ministry has learned its lesson when it comes to diplomatic relations with Greece… Turkey should never give compromises on the continental shelf that it declared to the United Nations on November 29th, at all costs. In this context, in the face of this huge imposition on us, negotiations should really be considered to delimit the maritime jurisdictions with Lebanon and Israel, through our thesis on maritime borders.
Here, we can also see that Egypt has been deceived terribly. Egypt has fallen for this trap, because of its blinding anti-Turkish sentiment, and has sacrificed the rights and interests of their future generations.”
The widespread theory in Turkey is that Germany and the United States have played an active role in the Greek-Egyptian agreement.
TURKISH AID TO LEBANON
Turkey has also taken a role in the situation in Lebanon, where some significant political events took place after the massive explosion at the port of Beirut last week.
While Turkey has been providing support in terms of medical teams, medical supplies and financial support, the delegation headed by Vice President Fuat Oktay was sent to Beirut for talks last week.
Oktay has met with the Lebanese officials, including the Lebanese President Michel Aoun, and gave these statements to the press after the meeting: “Our aid agency TIKA [Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency] came here immediately and brought around 400 tons of wheat to the Tripoli port [in northern Lebanon] to help with the food shortage.”
“When we arrived with our delegation this morning, we also brought medicines and medical equipment respiratory devices as well, and now we are handing them over to the authorities. We have expressed our deep grief to the President and the people of Lebanon.”
On the other hand, foreign minister Cavusoglu has announced that steps will be taken in case when Lebanese Turkmens apply for a Turkish Citizenship after the talks. While 220 deaths have yet to be confirmed, the entire nation has suffered great damage both financially and morally after the explosion in the Lebanese port.
THE UNCONTROLLABLE RISE IN THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATES
Another important event in Turkey in the last week was the uncontrollable rise in the foreign exchange rates and in the gold prices.
On Friday, when stock exchanges closed, the Euro had reached 8.62 Liras, the Dollar 7.31 Liras and the gold price per ounce had reached 13,774.51 Turkish Liras, while TRY lost 4.9% of its value against the US Dollar.
While the Minister of Economy Berat Albayrak had made the announcements that the necessary measures would be taken, the opposition parties demanded Albayrak’s resignation at once.
The prices on imported goods keeps increasing in the country with the rising foreign exchange rates.