Greece, angered by a 27 November accord signed by Libya and Turkey, said on Friday that it was expelling Libyan Ambassador Younis AB Menti from the country. He was given 72 hours to leave.
The agreement that was signed by the two countries maps out a sea boundary between them close to the Greek island of Crete.
There were both Libyan and Turkish reactions to the Greek decision, with Libya calling the move as ‘unacceptable’ and Turkey dismissing it as ‘outrageous’.
Greek Foreign Minister Nick Dendias said that the decision to expel the ambassador did not mean that Greece was severing diplomatic relations with Libya. He added, however, that the accord was a “blatant violation of international law”.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had told Greek Parliament that the document is “legally invalid”.
“Not only is it geographically and historically invalid, wiping Greek islands off the map, but because it led Turkey to an unprecedented diplomatic isolation,” he said.
“It’s just a piece of paper nobody recognises.”
Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Siyala told Reuters Greece’s decision was not acceptable, and said that Libya would have reciprocated if Greece had diplomatic representation in the country. He said that Greece could have gone to the International Court of Justice and take legal action rather than expel an ambassador and escalate the situation.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Rome that the expulsion was “not mature behaviour in diplomacy”.
The tension between Greece and Turkey is at an all-time high with TUrkish drilling off Cyprus as well as many other issues.