No: 288, 21 December 2010, Press Release Regarding the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Delimitation Agreement Signed Between Greek Cypriot Administration and Israel

It has been a source of concern that the Greek Cypriot Administration has been concluding bilateral agreements with Eastern Mediterranean coastal states related to maritime jurisdiction areas since 2003.

Most recently, Greek Cypriot Administration has signed an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) delimitation agreement with Israel, in Nicosia, on 17 December 2010.

It was known that negotiations to conclude such an agreement were under way for some time. In our several diplomatic demarches with Israel in this regard, it was underlined that the conclusion of such an agreement with Greek Cypriots would disregard Turkish Cypriots’ existing and inherent equal rights and interests, have an adverse effect on the ongoing settlement negotiations and not contribute to peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. On 16 December 2010, Undersecretary Ambassador Sinirlioğlu summoned the Ambassador of Israel in Ankara to the Ministry and explained once more our views and position in detail.

Despite all these demarches, signing of the said agreement constitutes an unfortunate development.

Turkey does not have any claim regarding the maritime areas subject to the said EEZ delimitation agreement. Turkey approaches to this issue within the context of the Cyprus problem.

These kind of agreements are directly linked to the sovereignty issue which is one of the indispensable components of the ongoing comprehensive settlement negotiations and due to the agreement in principle, they have been left to the discretion of the new partnership government. By ignoring Turkish Cypriots’ rights, Greek Cypriots’ efforts for concluding such agreements, are highly untimely and raise questions as to their real intentions and sincerity regarding the settlement process.

As already announced by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Turkish Cypriots have also rights and jurisdiction over the maritime areas of the Cyprus Island. The Greek Cypriot Administration does not represent in law or in fact the Turkish Cypriots and Cyprus as a whole. Therefore, agreements signed by the Greek Cypriots with countries of the region are null and void for Turkey.

It is our earnest expectation from the international community and especially from the countries of the region that all would avoid supporting Greek Cypriots’ unilateral activities that would have a negative impact on the comprehensive settlement negotiations.

Turkey, along with the TRNC, will continue its efforts, through diplomatic and political channels, in order to protect the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots.