Ankara, Turkey – Greece was established as a European Project and that malignant project still has been in place in Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean.
The creation of the Greek state was the result of a chain of international treaties between Great Britain, France, Russia and the Ottoman Empire.
After the Treaty of Adrianople (Edirne) of 14 September 1829 had initially only provided for Greek autonomy with a Christian ruler under Ottoman suzerainty, the London Protocol of 3 February 1830 fixed on Greek independence under a sovereign hereditary monarchy.
The Treaty of London of 7 May 1832 made the son of the Bavarian king, the king of Greece and also confirmed the status of Great Britain, France and Russia as guarantor powers. The borders of the state were finally set by the Treaty of Constantinople (Istanbul) of 9 July 1832 as well as in the London Protocol of 18 August 1832.
In 1832, within the borders of the Kingdom of Greece, the Peloponnese peninsula, Attica and Sikland islands were located. The total area was 47,517 square kilometers.
When the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the Russians, it was forced to leave Thessaly and Epirus for Greece at the Istanbul Conference of envoys held on July 7, 1881. However, it was at the end of the Balkan wars that Greece expanded its territory, taking Macedonia, Thessaloniki and the islands in the North Aegean.
On 17 October 1912, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Greece declared war, intending to take advantage of the internal political turmoil in which the Ottoman Empire was located. The Bulgarian Army came all the way to Çatalca. A peace conference has been convened in London. The demands for Ottoman Empire were heavy. In the Ottoman Empire, the Assembly was dissolved. On January 22, 1913, the Council of Sultanate decided to make peace.
By the peace treaty, Bulgaria captured Western Thrace, and Greece captured Thessaloniki, Macedonia and Crete. The Second Balkan war began when Bulgaria, which had made the biggest gains in the First Balkan War, attacked its allies this time. As a result of this war, Greece annexed all of Epir and Drama and Kavala to its territory.
At the end of the Second Balkan War, the Ottoman Empire ceded Western Thrace to Bulgaria by a treaty signed on 29 September 1913.
Western Thrace was almost given as a reward to the Greece who invaded to Izmir
Greece received Western Thrace from Bulgaria by the Treaty of Neuilly of 27 November 1919, which ended the First World War. Greece, which landed in Izmir on 15 May 1919, was given Western Thrace as a reward on 27 November 1919. From all stages of the Balkan War, Greece has always gained territory. Greece always emerged from all stages of the Balkan War by gaining land. For Greece, which won Western Thrace at the table in November 1919, it was time to take over Eastern Thrace and Western Anatolia.
In fact, given the problems of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece today, we can say that they are mainly caused by islands in the Aegean Sea. In 1832, Greece had only the “Sikland Islands”in the Aegean. So, in the course of time, Greece owned 12 islands and islands in the North Aegean.
The Ottoman Empire lost 24 islands in the Aegean in 6 months.
The Italians landed in Tripoli in October 1911. Facing resistance, the Italians invaded the islands, which would be called 12 islands, in May 1912. On 18 October 1912, the Treaty of Uşi was signed with Italy. According to the treaty, Italy would vacate these islands, which it temporarily occupied. However, Italy did not leave the islands. If you’re not strong, you can’t even get the treaties you signed implemented. The same issue happened in Cyprus.
This de facto situation was also confirmed by the Treaty of Lausanne.
In World War II, Italy was among the defeated States. according to article 14 of the 1947 Treaty of Paris, 12 islands (Dodecanese) were given to Greece. Greece again won 12 islands at the top of the table, such as Western Thrace, without firing a single bullet.
As for the islands in the northeast of the Aegean, as soon as the First Balkan war began, Greece invaded these Ottoman-dominated islands in the Northern Aegean in October 1912. The Athens Treaty, signed between the Ottoman Empire and Greece on 13 November 1913, decided to determine the future of these islands by the major European states. After all, on February 14, 1914, these states decided to leave these islands to Greece.
In the Balkan and Tripoli Wars, The Ottoman army and the Ottoman navy were caught in the weakest situation. There is a similar situation in the Peloponnese rebellion of 1821. The army is literally involved in politics. On one side are the Union and Progress, and on the other are the Freedom and Entente. The Saviour Officers Group was connected with liberal politicians, namely Freedom and the Entente. The command and command system in the army, the understanding of discipline collapsed, and the level of Education also fell to the bottom.
Territorial waters are maritime areas where countries have full sovereignty, that is, the right to rule. Therefore, territorial waters are “vital” for a country. Currently, the territorial waters of both Turkey and Greece in the Aegean Sea are 6 nautical miles wide. Increasing territorial waters to 12 nautical miles disproportionately changes the balance of interests in the Aegean Sea against Turkey.
The islands also have territorial waters. because of the islands it currently owns, Greece’s territorial waters account for 40 percent of the Aegean Sea. If territorial waters are increased to 12 nautical miles, this rate increases to 70 percent. In this case, the size of the open sea drops from 51 percent to 19 percent. Turkey also remains less than 10 percent of the Aegean Sea’s territorial waters.
At some point, this results in Turkey getting permission from Greece to land in the Mediterranean Sea after exiting the Dardanelles Strait. Turkey cannot in any way accept the fact that Greece increases its territorial waters above 6 nautical miles in the Aegean Sea. This is a “vital” problem for Turkey. On 1 June 1995, the Greek parliament declared that it reserved the right to increase its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in the Aegean “at a time appropriate to its strategy”.
By a decision taken on 8 June 1995, the parliament declared that this situation would be considered “the cause of war” and that the Government of the Republic of Turkey would be given all the necessary powers in military terms.
For Turkey, under no circumstances can the increase of its territorial waters above 6 nautical miles in the Aegean be even a matter of discussion.
The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris and other international documents on this issue are the “demilitarization”of 12 islands, the Eastern Aegean islands. In other words, soldiers, military facilities and military equipment cannot be kept on these islands.
Unfortunately, Greece has been violating this obligation since the 1960s. It also tries to prevent this issue from being taken to the International Court of Justice. Turkey’s right on this issue is at an indisputable point. So far, Turkey’s response to this issue has remained within the framework of NATO.
NATO infrastructure projects proposed on the islands were opposed. In addition, attempts were made to prevent the use of these islands in NATO exercises. Further steps should have been taken in international diplomacy on this issue. However, Turkey’s adoption of a “package approach”in the Turkish-Greek problems prevented such steps from being taken. In the package approach, it is based on solving all problems together and solving all problems together. The package approach does not allow individual problems to be addressed.
One of the Aegean problems is the claim that the airspace in the Aegean is 10 nautical miles, in violation of international law.
It can’t be as absurd as Greece’s claim to be 10 nautical miles of airspace, while its territorial waters in the Aegean are 6 nautical miles. According to international law, the width of a country’s territorial waters also determines the width of that country’s airspace. Turkey rightly does not recognize this, and shows that it does not recognize this, especially with the Air Force. So, to what extent are the actions that need to be taken at the international level on this issue? Again,here we encounter problems with the solution of the package solution approach.
Islands, Islets and Cliffs that are not left to Greece belong to Turkey
Many islands, islets and cliffs in the Aegean Sea, whose sovereignty was not explicitly left to Greece by treaties, have been occupied by Greece in geographical formations.
Islands, islets and cliffs whose sovereignty was not transferred to Greece by treaties belong to Turkey. Let’s try to give a few clear examples of this issue: the islands in the northeast of the Aegean, you know, were granted to Greece on February 14, 1914 by a decision taken by 6 major European states. But here’s an important point. According to this decision, Turkish sovereignty over the islands, which were not under Greek occupation on 13 February 1914, continued.
So, what are the islands that were not occupied by the Greeks at that time?
These islands were: Koyun, Paşa, Vatan, Gavati, Andipsara, Hurşid and Fornoz Islands. Greece has no rights over these islands. 15 of the Treaty of Lausanne, in which 12 islands were left to Italy. confirmed by Article. The islets associated with these islands are not included in the article in question. More importantly, on the map for this article, the islands left for Italy are drawn in red, while the six islets are not drawn in the same way. These islets are:
Eşek Adası, Nergiscik, Bulamaç, Keçi, Koçbaba, Ardıççık, Kendiroz, Kandilli, Kızkardeşler, Sirina, Üç Adalar, Safran and İstakida. These islets also belong to the Republic of Turkey. The cliffs, on the other hand, are not explicitly included in any treaty text. The status of islands, islets and cliffs, whose sovereignty has not been left to Greece by the agreements, has been the main subject of years of “exploratory negotiations” between Turkey and Greece.
Exploratory talks means “preliminary interview” for discovery and recognition purposes. However, no progress has been made in these talks so far. Turkey should clearly determine its official views and demands on this issue, these issues should be made public and our requests should be communicated to Greece in the strongest diplomatic way.
Continental Shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) issues
The continental shelf is the natural extension of coastal states, land countries under the sea. According to the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf, the continental shelf was considered to extend beyond its territorial waters to a depth of 200 meters. The 1982 United Nations Maritime Law Convention (UNCLOS) increased the outer limit of the continental shelf to 200 nautical miles. Countries have the right to explore and use all resources located on the seabed in areas remaining on the continental shelf. The continental shelf is not required to be declared by countries.
EEXs, on the other hand, extend 200 nautical miles from the outer border of territorial waters to the high seas. In fact, in this respect, continental shelves and EEZs are combined. The main difference between them is that the EEZs give the countries that own not only seabed resources, but also the right to explore and use marine resources on the seabed.
EEZs normally take place by mutual agreement. However, there are also some examples of unilateral EEZs being declared. Turkey, due to both the geographical features of the Eastern Mediterranean and the political situation of the region, did not declare the EEZ in this region. It can be argued that he is late in this regard. In a note published in 2004, Turkey declared that it reserves its rights to the Ministry of education through the continental shelf. On 21 September 2011, he signed the “Treaty on the limitation of the Continental Shelf in the Mediterranean” with the TRNC. Finally, an EEZ agreement was reached with Libya.
The main difference between Turkey and Greece in terms of continental shelf and EEZs is the situation of the islands. Greece argues that its islands have Continental Shelf, EEZs. However, the important point here is that this applies to “island states” in the state of an “independent state”.
Turkey cannot accept that the islands have a continental shelf and EEZs. Especially, coastal state cannot accept orders, situations where its rights and interests are ignored. In particular, Turkey can solve these two problems by taking its national interests ahead of everything else, correcting its relations with the states that have a coast in the Eastern Mediterranean and mutual EEZ agreements with them. The key countries in this regard are Egypt, Syria and Israel.
So far, what happened in history shows us the following facts:
- Greece, which gained full independence in 1832, had 47,517 square kilometers of territory in those years. Today, the area of Greece is 132.562 square kilometers. Greece has always grown its territory. In achieving this result, the fact that European states have always been behind and supported by Greece has been an important factor. As a result of the First World War, Western Thrace, and after the Second World War, 12 islands were almost gifted to Greece by European states at the table, and the Turkish-Greek balance in the Aegean was disrupted.
- Turkey has accepted the increase of its territorial waters over 6 miles in the Aegean Sea as the cause of the war. This attitude should be maintained in the same way.
- The issue of accepting airspace by Greece as 10 nautical miles in the Aegean should be brought to the international competent institutions.
- Turkey should take the issue of islands where Greece has built military facilities, brought military units and supplies in violation of the agreements to the competent international organizations.
- Turkey should immediately determine its official opinion on islands, islets and cliffs whose sovereignty has not been left to Greece by the agreements, and inform Greece of its demands on this issue in the strongest diplomatic way.
- Turkey, in particular, should aim to improve its relations with the states that have a coast in the Eastern Mediterranean and to implement the EEZ agreements that will be made mutually with them.