The Foreign Ministers of Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, France and the United Arab Emirates, held a Teleconference meeting on May 11, 2020 to discuss the latest worrying developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as a number of regional crises that threaten peace and stability in this region, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The joint declaration said that the parties “denounced the ongoing Turkish illegal activities in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone and its territorial waters, as they represent a clear violation of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
Turkey in less than a year has made six attempts to illegally conduct drilling operations in Cyprus’ maritime zones, but on each occasion failed to extract any resources, meaning their attempts have actually cost them money rather than gain any.
The five foreign ministers also denounced the escalation of Turkey’s violations of the Greek national airspace and condemned Turkey’s use of civilians to illegally cross into Greece, whether by land or by boat.
“The Ministers urged Turkey to fully respect the sovereignty and the sovereign rights of all States in their maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the statement said.
As part of the meeting, they denounced Turkey’s Memorandum of Understanding on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions in the Mediterranean Sea with the Turkish-backed Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya, as it infringes upon the sovereign rights of Greece and does not comply with the United Nations Charter Law of the Sea.
Turkey is one of only 15 countries in the whole world who has not signed the Law of the Sea as it will mean it has to acknowledge Greece’s rights in the Aegean and Mediterranean and end Turkey’s dreams of occupying Greek islands.
To try and legitimise Turkey’s claims on Greek islands, it also backs and supports the Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya that is facing pressures and near collapse of the Libyan National Army.
“The Ministers strongly condemned Turkey’s military interference in Libya, and urged Turkey to fully respect the UN arms embargo, and to stop the influx of foreign fighters from Syria to Libya. These developments constitute a threat to the stability of Libya’s neighbours in Africa as well as in Europe,” the statement said.
The statement concluded with the ministers agreeing to “continue their consultations on a regular basis.”
Effectively Turkey is becoming more isolated and it continues on an aggressive campaign of regional hegemony that has only backfired and weakened its position. Not only is the Muslim Brotherhood government on the verge of collapse, but Greece has also opened up new relations with Syria that further consolidates Greece’s position of leading an alliance that blocks and resists Turkish hegemonic ambitions.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded to the Joint Declaration of Foreign Ministers and said “until the end, we will continue to defend our interests and rights in the Mediterranean Aegean, in Cyprus.”
However as the Turkish lira tumbles and three major Turkish banks are at risk of collapse, Turkey does not have the capabilities and means to aggressively be a hegemon in the region.