Egypt says Turkish survey in Mediterranean a violation of sovereign rights

A seismic survey that is planned by Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean represents a violation and attack on sovereign rights, a statement by the foreign ministry said, further escalating tensions between the two countries.

In an official statement on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said Egypt objects to a seismic survey carried out by Turkey from 21 July to 2 August, saying it overlaps with Egypt’s exclusive economic zone.

Hafez said the encroachment violates the UN convention on the Law of the Sea and international law.

The statement added that Egypt does not recognise any outcomes or implications that may entail from Turkey’s activity in the area of overlap.

Turkey’s announcement of the planned survey has stirred a dispute with Greece and Cyprus over drilling rights, with Athens stressing it will do “whatever is necessary” to defend its sovereign rights in response to Ankara’s planned move.

Turkey said it could pause the oil-and-gas research mission pending talks.

Egypt, a close ally to Greece and Cyprus, has had strained relations with Turkey since the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s late Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a close ally of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

Relations further deteriorated recently over Turkey’s intervention in Libya and a signalled military intervention by Egypt in the war-torn country.