Libya and Turkey flags
Libya and Turkey flags iStock

When confronted on a Channel 13 interview with a report that Prime Minister Netanyahu had told Cyprus’ president last Friday that a maritime deal between Turkey and Libya was to be condemned as “illegal”, Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed that "that is the official position of Israel. But that doesn’t mean we are sending battleships to confront Turkey.”

The deal between Ankara and Tripoli carves out a corridor of maritime boundaries between Libya and Turkey, potentially clearing the way for oil and gas exploration there.

The Israeli government had previously made no public comment on the accord signed last month between Libya and Turkey that maps out maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean.

Greece, which is a close ally of Israel and is at odds with Turkey over a host of issues, called the accord absurd because it ignored the presence of the Greek island of Crete between the coasts of Turkey and Libya, according to Reuters.

Katz, in a television interview, said that while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was an adversary, he does not think Israel nor NATO-member Turkey was looking for conflict.

“We have no desire, and Turkey has no desire for a confrontation with Israel,” he said.

Libya, Crete, Turkey
Libya, Crete, Turkey iStock