Visit by the former admiral of the Turkish Navy / Gihat Yayci and Turkish businessman / Tunc Ozkan
On December 22, 2021, businessman Mohamed Kassem, ECFA member, visited ECFA, accompanied by Messrs. Gihat Yayci, a former admiral in the Turkish Navy (with his biography attached), with his assistant Aziz Yilderm and Tunc Ozkan, one of the Turkish businessmen dealing with the Egyptian market for years.
The former admiral stated that he was Chief of Staff of the Turkish Navy until May 2020, when he resigned from his position and from the Turkish Armed Forces and established a think tank, concerned with maritime and global strategies, since July 2021 and that he is looking forward to cooperating with the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs in order to enhance Turkish-Egyptian relations in light of the great historical legacy between the peoples of the two countries, and their appreciation of the other away from the current political polarizations. He added that he lectures in many universities and think tanks in Turkey and across the world on maritime law and maritime security topics, including the Research Center of the Sea and Maritime Law at the Faculty of Law – Ankara University.
The guest tackled the issue of demarcating maritime borders in the East Mediterranean, referring in particular to Egypt’s demarcation of its maritime borders with Cyprus, in February 2003, then signing an executive agreement in 2013, and with Greece on August 6, 2020, noting that Egypt’s exclusive economic zone with these two countries have shrunk in terms of area, and it would have been better for Egypt to demarcate its borders with Turkey first, which would have given it a larger exclusive economic zone than what it obtained from its agreements with both Cyprus and Greece.
Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director, commented that Turkey has its own interpretation of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which it is not a party in the first place, unlike Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, which are parties to this agreement, and which respect its provisions, rules, and guiding principles in this regard, adding that Turkey has rejected that agreement completely, as it did with Cyprus signing of agreements defining its maritime borders, not only with Egypt, but also with Lebanon (2007) and Israel (2010), and also when Greece and Italy signed an agreement on the demarcation of their maritime borders in June 2020. However, Dr. Saad clarified that it is important, despite these contentious issues, that issues of economic cooperation and trade exchanges between the two countries, on the basis of common interests, not be affected by this divergence in positions.
In a related context, the guest handed over to ECFA a file containing propaganda materials for the Dearsan Shipyard of the Turkish Military Naval Industries, of which he works as an advisor. Businessman Kassem stated that the guest requested an interview with Mr. Kamel Al-Wazir, Minister of Transport, to present the possibilities and opportunities for cooperation with the Turkish company, and that he was waiting for an appointment to be set for him.