The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday dismissed a joint declaration by an alliance of Mediterranean and Southern European Union member states, known as MED7, calling on Turkey to abstain from violating international law in the eastern Mediterranean.
The joint declaration by France, Italy, Spain, Malta, Greece, and the Greek Cypriot administration and Portugal released last week, has “no value and merits” for Ankara, the ministry said in a statement released on Twitter.
The MED7 “advocates the maximalist claims and policies of Greek Cypriot-Greek duo on Cyprus and Eastern Mediterranean’’ and cannot “contribute to peace and stability and enhance cooperation in the region,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said.
European Affairs Ministers who participated in the ministerial summit of MED7 countries in Athens on Friday issued a joint statement calling for a solution to the Cyprus issue on the basis of a “bicommunal, bizonal federation,’’ while calling on Ankara to abstain from “renewed provocations or unilateral actions in breach of international law” in the disputed waters of the eastern Mediterranean.
Genuine cooperation environment cannot be achieved in the region without Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Bilgiç said.
Tensions escalated last year in the eastern Mediterranean amid a dispute between Ankara, on the one hand, and Athens and Nicosia, on the other, over hydrocarbon resources.
Greece and Turkey have long disagreed on overlapping claims on hydrocarbon resources in the region, with both sides holding conflicting views of how far their continental shelves extend in the waters.
Cyprus has been divided along ethnic lines since Turkey invaded in 1974 in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece. Since then, the status and citizenship of the two communities on the island has proven a major stumbling block to reunification.
The internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus controls the southern two-thirds of the island, and the TRNC, only recognised by Turkey, the remainder.