World, Europe

Greece OKs doubling territorial waters in Ionian Sea

Territorial waters increased from 6 nautical miles to 12

Tevfik Durul   | 20.01.2021
Greece OKs doubling territorial waters in Ionian Sea

ATHENS

Greek parliament approved a bill Wednesday that envisions an increase to Greece’s territorial waters in the Ionian Sea from 6 nautical miles to 12.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis argued at the parliament ahead of a vote that the country has the right to expand and claimed that Greece has taken steps in line with international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He claimed that Athens reserves the right to expand in other regions and said the country plans to expand to the east of Crete Island.

Greece signed an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) deal on June 9 with Italy and Aug. 7 with Egypt.

The decree on the closure of the bays and the marking of straight baselines in the Ionian Sea region and the Ionian Islands up to Cape Tainaro in the Peloponnese took effect Dec. 27 after it was published in the Greek official gazette.

The draft bill was taken to parliament on Jan. 9 for discussion by lawmakers.

Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Tuesday that discussions on extending territorial waters in the eastern part of Crete Island are being held.

In August, Mitsotakis said the government was planning to submit a bill to double its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea.

In the future, Greece could also extend territorial waters in other maritime areas, he added.

In the mid-1990s, Greece attempted to extend in the Aegean Sea to 12 miles, but scuttled the plan after Turkey declared such a move would be a casus belli, or cause for war.

Turkey and Greece are due to begin exploratory talks Jan. 25 in Istanbul to resolve marine disputes.

* Writing and contribution by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak in Ankara

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