On April 12, 2021, Turkey and Libya renewed their commitment to a controversial maritime deal signed in 2019, as Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid DBEIBAH paid his first official visit to Ankara.
DBEIBAH was elected this year to lead the country to national elections in December 2021.
Under the 2019 deal agreed by Ankara and the GNA, Government of National Accord, Turkey claimed greater rights over vast areas of the Mediterranean but was challenged by other countries including Greece.
“Regarding the agreements signed by our countries, especially the maritime deal, we reaffirm that those agreements are valid” DBEIBAH said after the meeting with ERDOGAN.
“Today we reaffirmed our commitment to this matter,” ERDOGAN said.
DBEIBAH and ERDOGAN signed a series of agreements before a press conference in Ankara.
DBEIBAH said Turkish companies would play “an important role in Libya’s reconstruction given their long experience when it comes to working in Libya” and the two countries will soon work towards “a free trade agreement”.
In November 2019, Turkey and the GNA had signed a military agreement alongside the maritime boundary deal which gave Ankara more rights to explore energy in the Mediterranean.
Turkey’s military backing to the GNA during an offensive by HAFTAR helped turn the tide of the war in favor of Tripoli.
“We will continue to give all kinds of support to the GNA as we did for the previous legitimate government,” the Turkish President said.
Greece and Cyprus denounced the agreement, saying it was a serious breach of international law that disregarded the rights of other eastern Mediterranean countries.
DBEIBAH, who has been trying to strike a balance between Turkey and Greece following Athens’ concerns over the maritime deal, also said the deal serves both Turkey and Libya’s national interests.
DBEIBAH has said previously that his government is willing to establish a joint Libyan-Greek committee to resume negotiations to set the sea boundary between the two countries and demarcate an exclusive economic zone for oil and gas drilling rights.
On April 12, 2021, Greece reopened its embassy in Libya after seven years and at the same time called for the accord to be canceled.
Nikos DENDIAS, the Greek Foreign Minister met Libya’s alternative PM Hussein Atiya Abdul Hafeez al-QATRANI in Benghazi and noted that Libya’s parliament had not ratified the maritime accord, which Greece considers has no legal force.
This article was edited using the data from the Aljazeera.com, Apnews.com, Arabnews.com and, En.alwasat.ly.