Turkish rhetoric against Greece escalated on Sunday, 1 December, in a media statement issued by Turkish Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Hami Aksoy in response to a question regarding recent statements made by Greece and Egypt on the signing of a Turkish maritime jurisdiction agreement with Libya.
The statement disputes the territorial zones for Greek islands and effectively writes off maritime rights for the Greek island of Kastellorizo, located off the south-west coast of Turkey.
The statement is as follows:
By the agreement signed with Libya, a part of the western borders of our maritime jurisdiction areas in the Eastern Mediterranean is delimited. The agreement is in accordance with the court decisions that create the international jurisprudence and international law including the relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
All parties are in essence aware that islands cannot have a cut-off effect on the coastal projection of Turkey, the country with the longest continental coast line in Eastern Mediterranean, that the islands which lie on the wrong side of the median line between two mainlands cannot create maritime jurisdiction areas beyond their territorial waters and that the length and direction of the coasts should be taken into account in delineating maritime jurisdiction areas. As a matter of fact, prior to the signing of the said agreement, Turkey has repeatedly invited all parties to negotiations for a consensus based on equity and remains ready for negotiations. However, instead of engaging in negotiations in response to Turkey’s international law and equity-based approach, the parties only preferred to take unilateral steps and try to shift blame on Turkey. Maximalist and uncompromising Greek and Greek Cypriot claims lie behind this understanding, whereas for example, Kastellorizo, a small island immediately across the Turkish mainland is supposed to generate a maritime jurisdiction area of four thousand times larger than its own surface. This understanding caused Egypt to lose an area of 40,000 square kilometers.
Through this agreement with Libya, the two countries have clearly manifested their intention not to allow any fait accomplis.