In a diplomatic note sent to the two countries' embassies and the EU delegation, Ankara says they must seek its permission before conducting any work in Turkey's continental shelf.

Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz is pictured in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Cyprus, August 6, 2019.
Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz is pictured in the eastern Mediterranean Sea off Cyprus, August 6, 2019. (Murad Sezer / Reuters Archive)

Turkey has told Israel, Greece and the European Union to seek its permission before assuming work on a proposed undersea power cable in eastern Mediterranean waters.

In a diplomatic note sent to the two countries' embassies and the EU delegation on Monday, Ankara said the three must seek its permission before conducting any work on Turkey's continental shelf, according to diplomatic sources.

Greek Cypriot Administration, Israel and Greece last week signed an initial agreement on laying the world's longest undersea power cable linking their electricity grids.

But the proposed link is set to run through waters at the centre of last year's tensions between Turkey and Greece linked to Ankara's search for natural gas.

The 1,200-kilometre (745-mile) EuroAsia Interconnector's projected plans show it passing through Turkey's continental shelf, Turkish media reported.

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Turkey's approval

Any preliminary work or related initial cable-laying activities thus require Turkey's approval, Ankara said in its note, the local media said.

Turkish officials argue that with its long Mediterranean coastline, Ankara has a greater right to the waters in the region than Greece.

Ankara deployed a research vessel backed with navy frigates last year, despite repeated calls to stop from Athens and Brussels. 

Hopes were raised of a resolution when Turkey and Greece in January held their first talks on maritime issues since 2016.

Although there was no breakthrough at the Istanbul talks, the NATO allies will again meet in Athens on Tuesday.

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Source: AFP