A minor victory for Turkey:  EEZ treaty with Libya registered by UN

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has registered a Turkey-Libya deal on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas in the Mediterranean.

The agreement “has been registered with the Secretariat, in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations,” said the certificate of registration dated on Wednesday.

“Every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any Member of the United Nations after the present Charter comes into force shall as soon as possible be registered with the Secretariat and published by it,” reads Article 102.

The pact with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) was signed on November 27, 2019 and passed by Turkey’s parliament on December 5.

It took effect on December 8 after the two countries published it in their respective official gazettes.

Ankara applied to the UN to register the pact on December 12.

The memorandum setting marine jurisdictions rejects unilateral and illegal activities by other regional countries and international firms and aims to protect the rights of both countries.

While Turkish press, (see below) greeted the certification as ratification, PA Turkey understands that this is not the case, only a formality being discharged. That is UN does not  express an opinion as to validity of the Treaty with respect to existing maritime law.


Daily Sabah:  Attempt by Greece to appropriate East Med averted

The Turkey-Libya deal on maritime delimitation has provided a legal framework to prevent any fait accompli by regional states. Accordingly, the attempts by the Greek government to appropriate huge parts of Libya’s continental shelf, since a political crisis hit the North African country in 2011, have been averted.


The agreement also confirmed that Turkey and Libya are maritime neighbors. The delimitation starts from Turkey’s southwestern coast of Fethiye-Marmaris-Kaş and extends to the Derna-Tobruk-Bordia coastline of Libya.


The maritime delimitation agreement also recognizes Turkey’s rights in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) extending into the southeast of the island of Crete, thwarting any illegal attempts to confine the country’s EEZ in the Mediterranean.


Turkey will continue to support Libya’s government with training, consultation and other support, Turkey’s National Defense Ministry said on Friday, welcoming the U.N.’s move.


“Our versatile relations based on 500 years of common history with Libya and our training, support and consultancy support to the UN-recognized Gov. of National Accord will continue,” the ministry said on Twitter.


It added that an agreement signed last November “determining the maritime jurisdictional zones between Turkey and Libya is registered by the U.N.”


Turkey has pointed to the pact as bolstering its case for claiming its fair share of energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, against Greece’s maximalist claims flouting international law.


Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also welcomed the move through his Twitter account, saying that within the scope of international law, Turkey’s support for Libya will continue.


The Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez, on the other hand, said that the move has strengthened Turkey’s policy in the Mediterranean, which is based on international law and justice.



Currently, the political situation in the pro-Turkey Government of National Accord is extremely fluid. Current PM al Sarraj has announced his resignation as of this month, whit no serious candidate emerging to fill his place.  Al Sarraj resigned to open the way for national unification talks with Gen Hafter led renegade government which controls most of Western Libya including critical port city of Sirte.


It remains to be seen whether Al Sarraj’ s successors, or in case of unification, the new administration and parliament will ratify the Turkey-Libya EEZ treaty.

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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.