Turkish actions in Mediterranean counterproductive for stability, US State Dept. says

9 July 2020
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Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Palmer expressed Washington’s deep concern over Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, stressing that US diplomacy has made its position very clear to Ankara.

He explained that Turkey’s drilling activities, combined with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Libyan government, are counterproductive and do not contribute to the stability and security of the Eastern Mediterranean.

“We were clear about our expectations in our private and public messages, regarding how we expect all parties to behave in the Eastern Mediterranean and support international law and act in a way that favours security. We are quite clear in our discussions with our Turkish partners about our concerns,” Matthew Palmer said during a teleconference with Greek correspondents.

In light of this, the US official reaffirmed that Washington fully supports the right of the Republic of Cyprus to conduct hydrocarbon exploration within its EEZ. He even reminded the reporters that the State Department recognises that islands like Crete have the same rights as the mainland coasts in terms of their EEZ.

Mr.Palmer reminded that Turkey was not a party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea and therefore interprets the rights of island states differently.

The US official said that the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the International Military Education and Training security assistance program (IMET) would further strengthen US-Cyprus co-operation in key areas such as maritime security and the fight against human trafficking.

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