Middle East Online

  In Middle East Online

French-Turkish row over Mediterranean drilling deepens

Turkey on Thursday rejected accusations by French President Emmanuel Macron that Ankara was violating the sovereignty of EU countries in the eastern Mediterranean.

Macron called for Turkey to be “sanctioned” and accused Ankara of treading on the rights of Greece and Cyprus, as all three nations scramble to exploit recently discovered gas reserves.

Greece’s navy said on Wednesday it had deployed ships in the Aegean in “heightened readiness” after Turkey announced plans for energy exploration near a Greek island — an area Ankara claims is on its continental shelf.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Macron’s comments were “null and void” and said the threat of sanctions would “come to nothing”.

France and Turkey are both NATO members but their relationship has worsened as they disagree over the Libya conflict and the eastern Mediterranean.

“France should stop riding on its high horse, and instead pursue commonsense and rational policies,” said Aksoy.

“They should stop supporting putschists in Libya, terrorists in Syria and those who think ‘I am the sole master here’ in the eastern Mediterranean.”

Aksoy insisted Turkey was acting according to international law in the eastern Mediterranean.

Ankara supports the UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Libya’s Tripoli with thousands of mercenaries, weapons and soldiers against strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Macron has repeatedly criticised Turkey’s actions in support of the GNA. Source