Tripoli: The Turkish Foreign Minister signed an agreement in the Libyan capital on Monday allowing oil and gas exploration in Libyan waters, three years after a maritime border agreement that angered European nations.
“We have signed a memorandum of understanding on the exploration of hydrocarbons in Libyan territorial waters and on Libyan soil, by joint Turkish-Libyan companies,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference in Tripoli.
The deal follows a deal Turkey signed with authorities in Tripoli in 2019, which delineated the countries’ common maritime borders but sparked anger in Greece and Cyprus.
Cavusoglu, however, stressed on Monday that the new agreement is between “two sovereign countries – it’s a win-win for both, and other countries have no right to interfere.”
Najla al-Mangoush, foreign minister in Libya’s national unity government, said the new deal was “important”, especially in light of “the Ukrainian crisis and its repercussions” on energy markets .
Turkey had signed a controversial security agreement in November 2019 with Libya’s UN-recognized government, claiming large potentially gas-rich areas of the Mediterranean for itself.
The deal came at the height of a year-long battle between rival governments vying for control of the capital.
The arrival of Turkish drones soon after was considered crucial in the victory of Tripoli-based forces against those of eastern military leader Khalifa Haftar, backed at the time by Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. .
Turkey continues to play a major role in western Libya, where rival governments are once again vying for control two years after the end of the last major conflict.
Cavusoglu was accompanied to Tripoli by a high-level delegation that also included Turkey’s energy, defense and trade ministers.
Libya has been mired in violence for more than a decade since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising.
Dozens of armed groups are struggling for influence, backed by multiple foreign powers.
Since March, a government appointed by Libya’s eastern-based parliament has been trying to take office in Tripoli, but has so far failed.