RAMALLAH, Dec 20 (JMCC) - Israel
's ambassador was admonished by the Turkish Foreign Ministry yesterday over a recently signed Israeli maritime agreement with the Greek Cypriot government. Irritating relations taxed during the Gaza flotilla
, and somewhat eased by recent fire fighting cooperation, the underwater oil and gas reserves between Cyprus, Israel and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean could threaten regional stability and peace between Ankara and Tel Aviv.
Economic zones exclusive of Turkish interests on the island and under the sea aren't fair, Israeli ambassador Gabby Levy was told when summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara
. Israel has recently strengthened links with Greece and Cyprus, two nations at odds with Turkey, while denying the economic zone and other policies target Ankara's interests.
There is no connection between the Turkey-Cyprus maritime border and the Israel-Cyprus maritime border, the [Israeli government] source maintained.
The Israeli source added that Turkish claims to the maritime area based on their occupation of northern Cyprus constitute chutzpa that is unheard of in the international arena.
Turkey strongly objects to the Greek Cypriot search for oil and gas inside the island's 51,000 square-kilometer (17,000 sq. mile) exclusive economic zone off its southern coast, saying it also has rights and interests in the area.
Cyprus was split into a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of union with Greece. The island joined the EU in 2004, but only the internationally recognized south enjoys membership benefits. Turkey only recognizes the breakaway north where it maintains 35,000 troops.
Read more at The Jerusalem Post...