Greece negates its own thesis in the Eastern Mediterranean thanks to its controversial delimitation deal with Egypt, retired rear admiral and associate professor Cihat Yayci told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
Yayci, also the director of newly-established Bahcesehir University Maritime and Global Strategies Center, said that Greece gave up its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) projections in Rhodes and Crete islands for the sake of reaching an agreement with Egypt.
"This means that Greece negates its own thesis. Because it claims islands has equally same maritime zones with mainlands," Yayci said.
Egypt announced earlier on Thursday that it signed a bilateral agreement with Greece on the delimitation of maritime jurisdictions between the two countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry slammed the "so-called agreement" in a statement, asserting that Greece and Egypt had no mutual sea border and that the deal was "null and void" for Ankara.
It added that the demarcated area in the agreement was located on Turkey's continental shelf, as Ankara had reported to the UN.
Yayci stressed that Greece-Egypt deal, which aims to hamper the neighborhood between Turkey and Libya in the Eastern Mediterranean, has no effect on the agreement between Turkey and Libya.
Last November, Turkey and Libya signed landmark pacts on military cooperation and boundaries in the Mediterranean.
The maritime pact, effective from Dec. 8, asserted Turkey's rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, while clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) also has rights to the resources in the area.
Yayci also noted that Egypt have not accepted Greece's thesis of Meis (Kastellorizo) Island has EEZ or continental shelf and have not considered Meis as a legally valid shore in this delimitation agreement.
"In conclusion, this agreement [between Greece and Egypt] is invalid," he argued.
- Greek demands for EU sanctions against Turkey baseless
Yayci said that Greece’s call for EU sanctions against Turkey has no legal standing, and added that the articles of the Treaty on European Union suggest that it is the responsibility of the member states to observe measures that their actions and decisions within the framework of EU military crisis management should always respect their liabilities as NATO allies.
On Tuesday, Greece called for an extraordinary EU Foreign Affairs Council session after a meeting between Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced Wednesday that the EU Foreign Affairs Council will hold an extraordinary meeting Friday, during which the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean will be discussed.
“We will discuss urgent issues and address the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Belarus presidential elections, as well as developments in Lebanon,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote on Twitter.
"Given that NATO military crisis management will not take any action against EU or its own member states in return, this implies that the common security and defence policy will not be followed against an ally under any conditions or during any crises. No action in breach of the principles defended by the Charter of the United Nations will be taken, either," he explained.
Yayci noted that Greece’s call for EU to apply sanctions on Turkey has no legal standing on the basis of the articles of the Treaty on European Union and Greek expectation in this regard is illegal.
"Because EU has no right to place sanctions on a NATO member state, as I see it. It is true that states can independently pursue their own policies. These treaties and statements surely are not binding on states, but they are binding for EU as an institution," he argued.
"Otherwise, I believe that every state is free to follow its own policies independently, though EU can not. In any case, it has no logical angle for EU to place sanctions on a NATO member country by receiving aid from NATO. Such decisions would also be harmful for EU-NATO relations, too,” Yayci concluded.
As part of the country's hydrocarbon surveying activities, Turkey issued a NAVTEX (navigational telex) on Aug. 10, 2020, announcing that the Oruc Reis would begin conducting fresh seismic research in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey's decision came following a controversial delimitation deal signed between Greece and Egypt, only a day after Turkey said it would postpone its activities in the region as a sign of goodwill after mediation efforts from Germany.
But, after declaring the treaty "null and void," Turkey authorized the Oruc Reis to continue its activities in an area within Turkey's continental shelf.
The ship will continue seismic activities in the Eastern Mediterranean along with the Cengiz Han and Ataman vessels until Aug. 23.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration's unilateral drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting that the TRNC also has rights to the resources in the area.
Turkey's decision to announce new exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean raised alarms in Greece on Monday as Athens responded with its own notice and by placing its navy on alert.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu