Ankara is­sues state­ment on per­mits

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

One day af­ter Athens submitted a diplo­matic note to the United Na­tions, in which it no­ti­fied in­ter­na­tional of­fi­cials of Turkey’s grant­ing of ex­plo­ration per­mits for ar­eas deemed to cover the Greek con­ti­nen­tal shelf, Ankara yes­ter­day is­sued a state­ment de­fend­ing its de­ci­sion.

“The per­mits is­sued by Turkey from 2007 un­til now to [the sta­te­owned oil com­pany] TRAO con­cern [ter­ri­to­ries] within bound­aries of the Turk­ish con­ti­nen­tal shelf in the East- ern Mediter­ranean,” a state­ment by the For­eign Min­istry said, adding that Ankara has a sov­er­eign right to carry out drilling in the area.

“Turkey will con­tinue to make use of the rights stem­ming from in­ter­na­tional law,” it said.

On the in­struc­tions of For­eign Min­is­ter Dim­itris Avramopou­los, a note ver­bale was sent to the UN on Thurs­day to “safe­guard Greece’s stance in de­fense of our coun­try’s sov­er­eign rights, in ac­cor­dance with cus­tom­ary and con­ven­tional Law of the Sea, and specif­i­cally the UN Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea (1982).”

Ankara is­sued the ex­plo­ration per­mits last sum­mer. Athens re­sponded by lodg­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate de­marches to Turkey.

Diplo­matic sources told Kathimerini they ex­pected Turkey – which has not rat­i­fied the Law of the Sea – to also send a note ver­bale to the UN.

The devel­op­ment comes less than two weeks be­fore a sched­uled visit to Ankara by Greek Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras dur­ing the GreekTurk­ish High-Level Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil. Turk­ish of­fi­cials yes­ter­day said the on­go­ing dis­pute over ex­plo­ration rights should not af­fect the Ankara meet­ing in March.

Mean­while, in a meet­ing with Avramopou­los at the UN in New York yes­ter­day, Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki­moon urged Greece to speed ne­go­ti­a­tions to re­solve the Cyprus is­sue and the Mace­do­nia name dis­pute.

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