The Greek foreign ministry has issued a stern response to a series of threats issued by top Turkish officials over the last days, declaring that Greece will delimit the entirety of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) when it sees fits, based on the international law of the sea.
“The delimitation of the Greek EEZ in its entirety will be determined based on international law, and certainly without taking into account the unfounded and arbitrary theories espoused by Turkey, which is a violator of international law,” the foreign ministry said in a statement today, after Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar questioned Athens’ right to delimit its EEZ in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.
«Regarding issues of demilitarisation, the well-known positions of Greece stem exclusively from International Law and the UN Charter and leave no room for doubt. Greece is not going to be drawn into an exchange in aggressive rhetoric. We call upon our neighbour Turkey to act with due seriousness and commitment to the principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations,» Yennimatas’ stated, in response to Akar’s contention today that the Aegean islands must be demilitarised, according to international treaties.
The war of words between the two countries began when outgoing foreign minister Nikos Kotzias announced that Greece will issue a presidential decree exercising its right under international law to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in the Ionian Sea.
The announcement triggered a spate of threats from Ankara, including by Akar, and by Greek opposition parties, which said that the piecemeal delimitation of Greece’s territorial waters implicitly recognises Turkey’s insistence on blocking the extension of Greek territorial waters in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.
The Greek foreign ministry on 23 October dismissed Turkey’s disputation of Greece’s right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles.
«Extending territorial waters constitutes a legal and inalienable sovereign right of Greece, in accordance with International Law. The relevant decision for extension is solely for Greece to make, which has the right to extend its territorial waters whenever and in whatever manner it sees fit. This right applies consistently and shall not be challenged, nor shall it be up for negotiation with third parties. This applies to all Greek territory,» foreign ministry spokesman Alexandros Yennimatas stated.
PM Alexis Tsipras, who has assumed the foreign affairs portfolio, quickly backpedaled on Kotzias’ announcement. Reiterating Greece’s right to proceed with the delimitation, he said that this would done by legislation, after consultations with opposition parties and a meeting of the inter-party National Council on Foreign Affairs.