Turkey's recent maritime agreement with Libya is neither a threat nor a breach of the rights or the law of other countries, said Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Sunday, speaking at the Land Forces Command in the capital Ankara.
Signed on Nov. 27, the pact laying out both countries' marine jurisdictions rejects unilateral and illegal activities by other regional countries and international firms and aims to protect the rights of both countries in line with the international law of the sea.
Akar also said that Turkey has fulfilled its obligations from Syria deals with the U.S. and Russia and expects them to do the same, referring to deals under which YPG/PKK terrorists must leave northern Syria, the site of a Turkish anti-terror operation.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Under two separate deals with the U.S. and Russia, Turkey paused the operation to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned northern Syria safe zone.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
Speaking just days after last week’s NATO summit in London, Akar stressed that Turkey “takes threats to NATO seriously and also expects the alliance to fulfill its responsibilities to Turkey.”
Turkey has encouraged its NATO allies to recognize the YPG/PKK as a terrorist group, and to support its anti-terror operation in northern Syria as well as making a safe zone there for the voluntary return of Syrian refugees from Turkey.
Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.
By Sibel Morrow and Havva Kara Aydin