Turkey Libya Border Agreement

Turkey and the government of the national agreement have signed a maritime border treaty to create an exclusive economic zone in the Mediterranean, meaning they can claim rights to basic marine resources. [1] According to the list of maritime border treaties, this is the first agreement ever signed between the two countries and thus introduces a new dynamic in the eastern Mediterranean region. However, there are concerns that the agreement could fuel an «energy showdown» in the region because it is highly controversial. [2] In October 2020, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres registered an agreement between Turkey and Libya on the delimitation of maritime areas in the Mediterranean. The agreement «was registered with the Secretariat in accordance with Article 102 of the United Nations Charter,» the registration certificate states. [5] Two months earlier (August 2020), Greece and Egypt had signed another maritime agreement delimiting an exclusive economic zone for oil and gas drilling rights to counter the Agreement between Turkey and Libya. [7] Under the agreement, Turkey and the UN-recognized government witnessed increased cooperation in Libya. This cooperation ranges from Turkey`s offshore exploration efforts to the government`s support of the National Agreement, to the ongoing Libyan civil war (2014-present). [22] As the issues arising from the dispute are still evolving, the full consequences of this maritime conflict are not yet foreseeable. «Turkey wants to stop the energy hemorrhage and develop oil and gas sources,» Abdel Fattah, a researcher at egypt`s Al-Ahram center for Political and Strategic Studies, told DW. «It has only 12 nautical miles as a maritime border, in accordance with the 1982 convention, and it has no source of oil or gas.» According to UN procedures, the organization`s member countries indicate that agreements have been signed.

Registration at the United Nations does not mean that the international body must approve an agreement, in this case the agreement between Turkey and the Libyan government of the national agreement. There is no authorisation mechanism in this context. The legitimacy and legal consequences of the agreement have been challenged by a number of states in the region as well as by the European Union. According to the European Union, the agreement «violates the sovereign rights of third countries, is not in accordance with the law of the sea and cannot have legal consequences for third countries.» [3] Cyprus and Egypt both considered the agreement «illegal», while Greece considers it «unconfessed» and «geographically absurd» because it ignores the presence of the islands of Crete, Kasos, Karpathos, Kastellorizo and Rhodes between the Turkish and Libyan coasts. [4] In August 2020, Egypt and Greece signed an agreement that designated an exclusive economic zone between the two countries.