Türkiye welcomes maritime border demarcation deal signed by Lebanon, Israel

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday "welcomed" the recently signed maritime border demarcation deal between Lebanon and Israel mediated by the US.

Expressing hope for the deal to "will contribute to peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, already facing a number of challenges," the ministry said the newly inked deal "envisages a joint development model and revenue sharing through third party operator for certain hydrocarbon license areas within the two countries' continental shelf."

Israel and Lebanon have been locked in a dispute over a maritime area of 860 square kilometers (332 square miles) rich in gas and oil, according to maps sent by both countries to the UN in 2011.

Negotiations over the territory in the Mediterranean Sea, comprising a part of the Karish gas field and Qana, a prospective gas field, have been ongoing since 2020.

"This model which reflects similar practices in the world, sets a good example for the region and in particular for the Turkish and Greek Cypriots," it noted.

Citing Northern Cyprus' proposal to the Greek Cypriot administration on July 2021, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) "made a cooperation proposal to the Greek Cypriot side based on a joint development approach through determining equitable revenue sharing percentages, without prejudice to the existing rights of international oil companies; and offered to establish a joint committee for this purpose."

Reminding that Türkiye also proposed to convene an inclusive Eastern Mediterranean Conference in 2020, the ministry affirmed Ankara's continued support to "the off-shore hydrocarbon cooperation proposals put forward by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 2011, 2012, 2019 and 2022."

Decades-long dispute

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece's annexation led to Türkiye's military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the TRNC was founded in 1983.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Türkiye, Greece, and the UK.

The Greek Cypriot administration joined the EU in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted the UN's Annan plan to end the longstanding dispute.

Source: Anadolu Agency