Just a couple of weeks after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara to try to settle differences over territorial waters and oil and gas exploration in the Aegean, the two countries are engaged in a feud over the issue.
Turkey has forwarded a note verbale to the United Nations in response to one that Greece sent on Feb. 20. According to the Greek Foreign Ministry, Turkey challenged the right of the Greek islands to a continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, which Greece said is in violation of Article 121 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea, which Turkey does not recognize.
Greece also sent a note to the UN notifying international officials of Turkey’s granting of exploration permits for areas deemed to cover the Greek continental shelf. At the time Turkey’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement defending its decision, it said that permits that had been issued since 2007 to the state-owned oil company TRAO that Turkey claimed were within its continental shelf boundaries.
In separate interviews published in Sunday’s Kathimerini on March 10, Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu said they were hopeful the two countries could resolve their differences in the Aegean Sea, though through different routes.
While Greece is using international law as a guideline for the development of an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Turkey would like to see a bilateral agreement.