What do you know about Turkey 2
Border dispute between Turkey and Greece : What you need to know about the most dangerous conflict in Europe
The positions of the two warring neighbors Turkey and Greece in the dispute over territorial claims in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean are mutually exclusive.
As part of its “Blue Fatherland” doctrine, Turkey claims huge sea areas off its coasts, while Greece insists on an interpretation of international legal norms according to which even small Aegean islands off the Turkish coast should have large sea areas.
Both countries fear that they will be constricted by their respective opponents off their own coast.
The exact course of the border in the sea areas between the two countries has been controversial for decades. As early as 1936, Greece expanded its territorial waters from three to six nautical miles, thereby increasing the claims in the Aegean Sea.
Turkey followed suit in 1964 with an extension to six miles. Greece reserves the right to extend sovereignty to twelve nautical miles. But then the Aegean would practically become a Greek inland sea, says Ankara. Turkey has therefore officially declared an expansion of twelve miles through Greece in the Aegean Sea as a reason for war.
The Turkish position is not free from contradictions
Athens also argues that every inhabited Aegean island has its own so-called continental shelf, which forms the basis for an exclusive economic zone according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982.
Behind this is the belief that the islands are a continuation of mainland Greece. Greece sees its claims covered by the UN convention. From the Turkish point of view, however, the Athens position would mean that a small Greek island like Kastellorizo, which is only two kilometers off the Turkish coast, could claim 40,000 square kilometers of sea area, but Turkey would come away empty-handed.
More about the conflict in the Mediterranean:
However, the Turkish position is not free from contradictions. For example, Ankara grants the Turkish part of the divided island of Cyprus its own large economic zone on the sea - Ankara does not want to accept similar zones around the Greek Aegean islands.
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Turkey relies on the "Blue Fatherland". According to the doctrine, Turkey is entitled to a total of 462,000 square kilometers of sea areas in the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. If implemented, the Aegean Sea as far as the east coast of Crete and parts of the Mediterranean far south of Cyprus would become an area of Turkish influence - the Greek islands in the area would become enclaves.
Turkey also regards the affiliation of some Aegean islands to Greece as illegal. The island of Agathonisi in Turkey is counted as part of the western Turkish province of Aydin. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shocked Greece with the demand for a revision of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, in which the vast majority of the Aegean islands had been declared national territory of Greece.
The airspace is also controversial
There is also a dispute over the airspace in the Aegean Sea. Greece claims a zone of ten miles for itself, but Turkey only recognizes six miles - these differences mean that both countries repeatedly accuse each other of airspace violations.
There is no consensus between Turkey and Greece on the best way to resolve disputes. Unlike Greece, Turkey has not signed the Convention on the Law of the Sea and therefore does not feel bound by it. Ankara also refuses to clarify before the International Court of Justice in The Hague and insists on bilateral negotiations. The EU is on the side of its member Greece and sees the Turkish gas search in the eastern Mediterranean as an illegal action.
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