In late July, Turkey’s exploration ship planned to conduct exploration in the disputed sea area with Greece. Because of this, Greece and Turkey were almost at the point of fierce confrontation. Greece even sent warships to the relevant waters to deter Turkey. On July 28, Turkey said it would suspend relevant exploration activities, so that relations between the two sides could be eased and agreed to start a dialogue. What’s going on between Turkey and Greece?
on July 21 local time, Turkey released a message through the maritime communication system NAVTEX, calling a Turkish ship named oru? Rez? Reis) will carry out exploration activities in the relevant waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea from July 21 to August 2.
as soon as the news came out, there was a strong reaction from the Greek side. Because the scope of this exploration includes the waters around the Greek island of castrorizo. The Greek side protested that Turkey’s exploration activities in the area violated Greek sovereignty.
castrorizo is almost a small island in the easternmost part of Greece. It is located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, covering an area of about 12 square kilometers and a population of about 500. The island is very close to Turkey. It is only 2km from the island to Kashi, a small coastal town in Turkey. People with better physical strength can even swim from Turkey to Greece.
Turkey did not show weakness in the tough attitude of Greece. On July 22, Turkey’s Ministry of foreign affairs responded that Turkey had previously carried out exploration activities in the relevant sea areas by exploration ships. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that castrorizo island is a small island 580 km away from the Greek mainland and 2km away from Turkey. It is unreasonable for such a small island to have a continental shelf of 40000 square kilometers. Turkey believes that the Greek island of castrorizo is located on the continental shelf of Turkey, so the sea area around the island belongs to Turkish territorial sea.
Greece is on high alert and Turkey has not taken any rash action. After Turkey launched its exploration plan on July 21, the oruchi rez has been staying at the port of Antalya, Turkey, instead of going to castrorizo island.
on July 28, Turkish presidential spokesman Carlin said in an interview with Turkish media that oru? Reis) and Greece will solve the related problems through dialogue. Turkey’s defense minister said on the 31st that Turkey and Greece will hold talks.
, according to German media reports, part of the reason for the easing of the relationship is Germany’s mediation. German “Bild” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the Turkish president and Greek Prime Minister respectively at a time of tense relations between the two sides, avoiding military conflict.
the island dispute between Turkey and Greece has a long history. Both turkey and Greece are coastal countries in the Aegean Sea, especially Greece, which has many islands scattered in the Aegean Sea. Both sides often have disputes over the territorial sea of the Aegean Sea. Turkey is worried that Greece will expand its territorial waters and turn the Aegean Sea into a “Greek Lake”, while Greece is worried that Turkey will break through Greece’s island chain and expand its power to the middle of the Aegean Sea.
Turkey and Greece have not reached an agreement on the territorial sea issue. At present, Turkey recognizes that the territorial sea width of Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea is 6 nautical miles.
in 1994, the United Nations Convention on the law of the sea came into force. Greece also signed the Convention, but Turkey has not signed it. According to the Convention, each state has the right to determine the width of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles from the baseline established in accordance with this Convention. After the Convention came into force, Greece reserved the right to extend the width of its territorial sea to 12 nautical miles, which Turkey strongly opposed.
according to the Turkish foreign ministry, if the territorial sea width of Turkey and Greece in the Aegean Sea is 6 nautical miles, Greece’s territorial sea area will account for 43.5% of the Aegean Sea, Turkey’s area will be 7.5% and high sea area will be 49%. If Greece’s territorial sea width in the Aegean Sea is extended to 12 nautical miles, because Greece has many islands in the Aegean Sea, Greece’s territorial sea area will account for 71.5% of the Aegean Sea, Turkey’s territorial sea area will only account for 8.8%, and the high sea area will be reduced to 19.7%. Therefore, Turkey firmly opposes that the width of Greek territorial sea is more than 6 nautical miles.
although Turkey suspended the exploration operation of the oruchi rez, it sent another exploration ship to explore the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The ship, named babaros, is currently exploring the waters off Cyprus. According to information released by Turkey, exploration activities continued from July 28 to September 18.
Cyprus is an island country located in the northeast of the Mediterranean Sea, mainly inhabited by Greek and Turkish people. After its independence, there were many conflicts between the Greek and Turkish nationalities on the island. After 1974, the Turkish moved to the north. In 1975 and 1983, they announced the establishment of the “Turkish state of Cyprus” and “the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, forming a situation in which the two ethnic groups were divided into North and south. At present, the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” is only recognized by Turkey. Turkey claims that the exploration activities of the babalos have been approved by the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.
as there are a lot of oil and gas resources in the sea area near Cyprus, Turkey also hopes to be able to carry out oil and gas exploration in the area, and has put it into action. Since last year, Turkey has sent Fatih and yawuz drilling ships to the waters near Cyprus for mining activities.
both the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean Sea are rich in natural resources, which is the reason for frequent friction and disputes in these areas. The Levant basin in the eastern Mediterranean may be able to produce 1.7 billion barrels of oil and 12.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to a 2010 report by the U.S. Geological Survey. In 2015, an Italian oil company discovered the largest natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Egypt in the eastern Mediterranean. The discovery of a large number of oil and gas resources has made coastal countries in the eastern Mediterranean interested in this area, and Turkey is eager to expand its rights and interests in the eastern Mediterranean. As Turkey and other countries in the eastern Mediterranean, especially Greece and Cyprus, have not yet reached an agreement on the scope of territorial waters, exclusive maritime economic zone and how to develop oil and gas resources, the friction in the eastern Mediterranean may continue. Scientists have made ultra-high-speed terahertz wireless chips that deliver faster than 5g