The theory of grey zones in the Aegean, that there are dozens of Aegean rock islets of undetermined sovereignty because international treaties do not cite each one by name, was hatched at the time of the 1996 Imia crisis.
Previously, in 1995, the Turkish Grand National Assembly had passed a resolution that if Greece exercised its right under international law to extend its territorial waters from six to 12 miles, it would be a casus belli, or cause for war. That resolution has never been revoked.
Greece cites the international treaties that ceded sovereignty over the Dodecanese Islands to Greece, which state specifically that the transfer applies also to all adjacent islets and rock islets.
Over 20 years after the Imia crisis, and after a long period of relative calm following Greece’s approval of Turkey’s EU candidacy, opening the way to accession talks at the December, 1999, Helsinki EU summit, the Erdogan regime is reviving the grey zones theory with a vengeance.
Almost daily statements by top Turkish officials – the president as well as his PM and foreign minister – reveal an intensely pro-active geopolitical revisionism, with accompanying territorial claims, from the Aegean to Cyprus.
The last salvo was from Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“The sovereignty status of certain islets and rock islets, and the maritime borders in the Aegean, are not determined by any international agreement in effect between Turkey and Greece. It is true that because of this, a series of problems arise,” Cavusoglu told an opposition MP in respond to a question, the Cyprus News Agency reported.
“Our [foreign] ministry, since 1996, with announcements, has expressed its views on Aegean problems, and has said it will not allow de facto actions in geographic formations [island complexes] whose status has not been determined, nor shall we accept any actions that would constitute a legal precedent,” Cavusoglu declared.