Athens, Greece – Greek-Turkish’s exploratory talks are not a dialogue for the sake of diplomatic political dialogue. They are a structured debate in which both sides invest for a series of achievements in the diplomatic political dialogue process.
Greece’s target, as far as exploratory talks dialogue is concerned, has always been that the matter under consideration is the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf; that if no agreement is reached, the issue will be referred to an international tribunal, preferably The Hague.
Turkey’s target encompasses all the critical issues with Greece ever born after the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris including the disputes of exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf in Mavi Vatan.
Therefore, the politicians seeking to maximize the role and the importance of the exploratory contacts dialogue should recall the goals of diplomacy, unless they have other – secret – objectives than those mentioned. Possible concessions and pressures to the diplomatic political solution of Cyprus issue.
Turkey’s aim is an agreement with Greece on these critical issues. But none thinks this is probable now, unless there will be concessions without principles. Of course, on the other hand, both parties must try to achieve the essence of the exploratory talks dialogue, by setting conditions, “red lines,” and by accurately informing the international community. If, and as long as, exploratory talks dialogue continues, the aim must be to have timely set fundamental strategies.
The first and foremost goal within this process under the current circumstances must be to get both parties to accept the International law and practices. Otherwise, on what basis will they seriously discuss anything without both parties agreeing to the role of the the International law and practices?
Part of the agreement with Greece should be that if the process of formulating an arbitration agreement referral to the International Court of Justice is considered, at the same time, in the processing of this agreement, both parties must stop any destructive action against the agenda of the exploratory talks dialogue. The risk is that the court will take into account the maps in the delimitation of the EEZ between both sides.
Therefore, the timely preparation of the maritime zones that give sovereignty over “non-dry land” in Mavi Vatan is a critical step for the International Court of Justice. Similar care is needed in preparing the maps supporting the proposal for the EEZ and the continental shelf if they should be submitted to the International Court of Justice, as the court will receive similar maps from Greece, in which the Greek EEZ will illegally appear to include territories currently characterized as “gray zones.”
The proper preparation for the recognition of the international law by Greece, the maps, and a proper use of international law facilitates the under investigation solution. At the same time, these elements are powerful weapons in every phase in case the exploratory contacts do not succeed and the process leads to a “blame game.” The great importance Turkey must give to the preparation of exploratory contacts dialogue:
a) Turkey must take it seriously and must explain all this with patience and perseverance. And also explain that international defense law precedes each individual international agreement.
b) Turkey must be well prepared for exploratory contacts dialogue. Turkey has dozens of studies on the matter by highly qualified domestic and foreign experts. Let us make good use of them in the exploratory contacts dialogue. There is also a need for Turkish views to be presented more systematically and effectively in the international scientific press and to make better use of the publications studied by judges and their collaborators.
c) Turkey cannot go to a meeting with a smaller delegation than Greece. Equality in negotiations must exist in all areas. The Turkish delegation should include experienced experts in international law, and really know the subject of exploratory talks dialogue and Greek-Turkish relations.
d) Finally, the fact that there is a hidden agenda with concessions in exploratory contacts dialogue. Turkey must consider its geostrategic goals and policies including the political, economic, cultural and security interests in the region.