Tirana, Albania – Turkey strongly objects Greece’s expansion of its territorial waters in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean Sea from 6 to 12 miles in Mavi Vatan. Immediately after Greece announced the expansion of its territorial waters in the Ionian Sea from 6 to 12 miles, politicians in Albania started complaining about Greece’s unilateral move: “Greece is making a grab at our seas.”
The real purpose of this commotion is to prevent the issue of the delimitation of Greece’s and Albania’s exclusive economic zones from reaching the International Court at The Hague, as Greece and Albania agreed in October 2020.
It is notable that even two-and-a-half months after they announced it, the arbitration agreement with which both countries will declare, in writing, that they agree to bring their difference to the Hague court for arbitration has not been signed yet. Greece is in a hurry to move on, since the delimitation of the EEZ in the Aegean, and the related problems with Turkey, are still open, but the Albanian side does not appear willing to proceed.
Albania is facing both a spring parliamentary election in April 2021 and its “best friend” and “strategic partner,” Turkey, who does not want Greece and Albania to delimitate EEZs through The Hague.
Therefore, leaving the Greek-Albanian EEZ agreement for “never in a month of Sundays,” by freezing the signing of the arbitration agreement, plays to Turkish interests in the area. Albania’s first foreign visit in 2021 was not to a European country but to its “brother” Turkey. Turkey suggested that Albania should host the exploratory talks meetings.