Operation “Blue Motherland”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks with journalists during a press conference at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on November 16. [Aditya Pradana Putra/G20 Media Center]

Since 1973, Turkey has systematically compiled a list of “Greek-Turkish conflicts”. The question of delimiting the continental shelf was first raised in her November of that year. In 1974, there was a threat of war if Greece expanded its territorial waters and questioned Athens her flight information area restrictions.

In 1975, Ankara increased the gap between 10 miles of airspace and 6 miles of territorial waters. In 1978 they discovered the limits of the Aegean search and rescue zone. And he said in 1996, they began challenging Greek sovereignty over various Aegean islands.

But the “Blue Motherland” (Mavi Vatan) is not one of Turkey’s claims to be added to an already long list of “Greek-Turkish conflicts,” according to Turkey. Blue Homeland is a strategy. It incorporates all the aforementioned Turkish challenges and offers the possibility to create new ones.

What does this strategy say? Turkey, as a continental state, has completely disclaimed islands within 200 miles of her coast. Only the continental coast of another state may claim such rights and shall be taken into account in delimiting the boundaries. Islands are only entitled if they are more than 400 miles from a continental coast or belong to an archipelagic state. Greece is not an archipelago state. As a result, only the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the continental shelf and its continental coasts can be claimed.

In the 1970s, the Greek islands were said to “sit” on the “natural sea expanse” of the Asia Minor Peninsula.

Thus, according to Turkey, the Aegean Sea will be divided in half. The Greek islands near the coast of mainland Turkey have neither a continental shelf nor he EEZ. In fact, on the Blue Homeland map that appeared in various presentations behind Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Greek islands don’t even have territorial waters, but are entirely within Turkish jurisdiction and are the same as Turkey. It’s colored.

I heard similar arguments about the continental shelf from Ankara in the 1970s. At the time, the Greek islands were said to “sit” on the “natural sea expanse” of the Asia Minor peninsula. The “natural extension” argument was also used in other states at the time. They were then rejected outright by the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice. At the same time, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in Article 121, clearly defined that islands have full rights in all sea areas, including the continental shelf and EEZ.

Blue Homeland’s architects create something novel, demonstrating their gross ignorance of the provisions of international law, the 10+ years of work devoted to UNCLOS, and the relevant jurisprudence of the international judiciary. . They present some international maps and say vague things about international law. But they don’t care about the law.

The Blue Motherland is a national strategy independent of international rules, invoked solely on what is deemed to be Turkey’s best interests. On this basis, the Turks proceeded with an illegal and illogical memorandum of understanding signed with Libya. They will continue this strategy even if Erdogan leaves power at some point.

Angelos Sirigos is a New Democratic Member of Parliament and Associate Professor of International Law and Foreign Policy at the Pantheon University in Athens. Operation “Blue Motherland”

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