Athens pleased with EU leaders' support against latest Turkish provocation to ignore int'l maritime law

Friday, 13 December 2019 13:02
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Greece received more-or-less the absolute and unanimous support of its European partners on Thursday, during an official EU Council summit in Brussels, more than a week after the latest, and substantially upgraded, Turkish provocations.

Athens heatedly reacted to the signing of an agreement - essentially two MoUs - between Ankara and the interim Libyan government clinging to power in Tripoli and a swath in the west of the North African country. The controversial MoUs aim to delimitate maritime boundaries between the two non-abutting states.

The latest and most provocative instance of "Turkography" ignores all of the islands in the eastern Mediterranean, including large Crete and the island republic of Cyprus, in order to unilaterally draw maritime maps that extend exclusive economic zones and continental shelves from the land masses North Africa coast (Libya) and Asia Minor (Turkey) up to a median between the two. As a result, and in contrivance to international maritime law (specifically Article 121 of UNCLOS), islands are not granted EEZ or continental shelf status, but rather a sea border of six nautical miles extending from their coasts.

Although Turkey is not a signatory to UNCLOS, alone among EU member-states and candidate-states, it is subject to international law and subsequent case law emanating from the international adjudication of bilateral and trilateral disputes involving maritime zones, including well-cited cases where islands are involved.

According to diplomatic sources after the summit, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis requested and received his counterparts' support, something that was clearly spelled out in a subsequent communique of the session's results.

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