Turkey renews talk on sharing resources with Greece

Published: September 3, 2020

Turkey’s Foreign Minister has said that Turkey is in favour of talks with Greece on the resources of Mediterranean Sea. It would lead to the fair sharing of resources in the eastern Mediterranean, where the two countries are locked in a tensed standoff.

What is the issue?

· Turkey and Greece have overlapping maritime claims in the eastern Mediterranean.

·  The maritime dispute is related to the maritime jurisdiction areas, including the territorial waters and the continental shelf and their delimitation in the Aegean Sea.

· Turkey continues to argue that the many Greek islands off the Turkey’s Aegean coast should be entitled to Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as compared to the normal 200 nautical miles limit.

· While, Greece claims that waters where it’s searching for hydrocarbons are part of Greece’s continental shelf, insisting that Greek islands near Turkey’s coast cannot be taken into account when delineating maritime boundaries.

· Turkey accuses Greece that it is trying to grab an unfair share of the eastern Mediterranean’s resources.

Concerns

· It is difficult to demarcate the maritime boundaries in the eastern Mediterranean between Turkish and Greek islands.

· Turkey is not a signatory of the UNCLOS and it complicates any possible negotiations.

But, this call on talks will bring down tensions and find a diplomatic and mutually acceptable solution to the resources conflict.

Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

An EEZ is a sea zone in which a state has special rights to explore and use the marine resources. EEZs are prescribed according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982. Only islands that are inhabitable or can support independent economic activity can claim an EEZ up to 200 nautical miles.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

It is a fundamental rule of international law that delimitation of maritime boundaries between adjacent and opposite states in locations where maritime areas overlap or converge should be affected by agreement on the basis of international law.

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