Turkey slams Mediterranean undersea cable deal between Greece, Cyprus and Israel

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Turkey has formally protested against a new deal which plans to build a 2,000-megawatt undersea electricity cable connecting Cyprus, Greece and Israel.

Turkey formally protested against the agreement, arguing that the route of the planned cable, expected to be funded by the EU, transgressed Turkish territorial waters, the state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

In diplomatic protest notes presented to Greek, Israeli and EU diplomats in Ankara, Turkish officials also stated that the three countries needed to seek Turkey’s approval before conducting feasibility studies.

Cypriot President, Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, attend the signing of a deal by their respective Energy Ministers to build the EastMed subsea pipeline. January 2, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Alkis Konstantinidis.

The three countries reached an agreement last week to expedite permits and approvals to conduct feasibility studies for the undersea cable and to coordinate with their respective national electricity regulators on how best to proceed.

RELATED: Greece, Israel, Cyprus sign deal to link electricity in world’s longest undersea power cable.

Previously, the three countries had teamed up for a planned $6 billion undersea pipeline to carry gas from new offshore deposits in the southeastern Mediterranean to continental Europe, by bypassing Turkey.

Israel, Greece and Cyprus have also conducted a joint naval exercise last week in the latest example of increased cooperation between the three, which increasingly view Turkey as a rival in the Mediterranean Sea.

RELATED: Israel, Greece, Cyprus hold naval drill as they deepen ties.

Greece and Cyprus are embroiled in a dispute with Turkey, which has sent gas prospecting vessels into waters claimed by Greece and drilling ships into an area where Cyprus claims exclusive rights. The tension brought NATO allies Greece and Turkey close to open conflict last year, but tensions have eased since then.

Israel and Turkey were once close allies but had a major falling-out in 2010, when 10 Turkish citizens were killed by Israeli forces as a Turkish-led flotilla tried to break Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip.

READ MORE: Greece and Israel complete historic $1.68 billion defence agreement.

Source: AP News.

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