Definition of a legally authorized suspension of activities. Between Greece and Turkey it was established during late 1980’s on Military interferences between the Air and Naval forces of the two countries.
Over the last years Turkey has totally forgotten the term “good faith bilateral affairs”. Even when Turkish ex Prime Minister Ecevit has officially announced that Turkey does not have any territorial claims against Greece, their actions prove the exact opposite. Diplomacy channels showing a wannabe relation, while military channels prove the reality.
Conflict Area*Aegean Archipelago
Greece has extended its territorial waters, based on International Law of the Sea, to 6 nautical miles by an Act of September 1936. Greek territorial waters thus cover 43.5 per cent of the Aegean Sea while Turkish territorial waters represent only 7.5 per cent.
If the territorial waters of the two countries were brought to 12 n miles, 71.5 per cent of the Aegean Sea would be under Greek sovereignty and 8.7 per cent Turkish. If the two countries established Exclusive Economic Zones, the remaining space (19.7 per cent) would fall entirely under the jurisdiction of Athens. This is a “Casus Beli” on behalf of Turkey’s official announces.
In addition, the United States opposing Greece’s right to extend to 12 n. miles as this will interfere in US naval operations in Mediterranean.
The issue on the size of territorial waters has consequences on the airspace, which in general covers the territorial waters. Athens, considers that its airspace measures 10 n. miles wide around its territory but Ankara only recognizes 6 n. miles.
Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil and gas are trapped under the seabed around Greece (Aegean sea, Ionion sea). Turkey deliberately is provoking in order to be able to proceed with mutual exploitation and have economic benefits from these natural resources. Recently, Mr. Erdogan and other nationalist parties in Turkey, have started to question the Lausanne Treaty of 1923. Greek islands are in Turkey’s voracious cravings.
But where there is oil, gas and minerals there is always conflict.
Several countries are proposing ideas to stop the conflict between these two NATO countries but strangely their ideas always have to do with Greece stepping back and have Turkey stepping in, in terms of sea borders-air borders (Flight Information Regions (FIR), -gas and oil benefits-etc.
As you can see on map Νr. 2 below, this was another proposal in order to stop the two countries disputing over Aegean. Cutting Aegean almost in half, losing Dodecanese sea-air dominance and making the former “grey zones” of their hostile plans to be “legally” accepted and applied. The Turkish government has avoided stating exactly which islets it wishes to include in this category. On various occasions, Turkish government sources, have indicated that islands such as Pserimos, Agathonisi, Fournoi and Gavdos (situated south of Crete) might be included.
In a 2004 publication by Turkish authors close to the Turkish military leadership, the following islands (among other, even smaller ones) were listed as potentially “grey” areas:
- Antipsara (west of the islands of Psara and Hios),
- Pontikos (between Samos and the Turkish coast),
- Agathonisi (Gaidaros),
- Kalolimnos (near Imia),
- Gyali (between Kos and Nisyros),
- Kandheliousa (south of Kos),
- Sirina (SE of Astypalaia)
While, Turkey has not made any attempt at challenging the Greek possession of these islands on the ground, the claims add to the number of minor military incidents, already numerous due to the 10-mile airspace and the FIR issues. The Turkish Air Force has reportedly adopted a policy of ignoring Greek claims to all airspace and territorial waters around such formations that it counts as grey zones for themselves.
According to Greek Military HQ, the number of airspace violations within the 6-mile limit recognized by Ankara rose sharply in 2006, as did the number of unauthorized Turkish military flights directly over Greek islands. Renewed reports of systematic Turkish military flights directly over Greek islands like Pharmakonisi and Agathonisi, Panagia are made often.
Turkey and Refugee crisis
Turkey has a huge responsibility against Europe and Middle East since her relationship with Daesh has proven to be more than friendly and co-operative. Thousands of people are entering Turkey in order to avoid war, although Turkey is creating much of the issues since Turkish Airlines have reportedly announced very low cost flights for immigrants to reach their country from North Africa in order to send them to Greece and Europe. Also, it is proven that many illegal immigrants of Turkish origin are being sent to Thrace in order to expand the Muslim-Turkish populations there, which this action is against Peace treaties.
According to sources, the Greek Prime Minister conveyed to the government’s dissatisfaction NATO Secretary General for the fact that the involvement of NATO has not yielded the expected results, the refugee flows to continue unabated in Turkey.
Writer: Stefanos Peppas, Geopolitical Researcher
- Embassy of Turkey
- Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- http://www.tovima.gr/international/tag-search/Aegean%20Sea NATO
- NATO- http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_128746.htm