Istanbul, Turkey – The Black island and Fener island next to Meis island do not belong to Greece.

a. By Article 15 of the Lausanne peace treaty, the Mentese Islands (Dodecanese) and their associated islets were ceded to Italy along with the island of Meis.

b. In accordance with Article 3 of the convention of 4 January 1932, prepared on the basis of Article 16 of the Lausanne peace treaty, the Black Island (Rho Island or St. Georges) and the island of Fener was transferred to Italy by name.

Convention of 04 January 1932 between Turkey and Italy on the limitation of territorial waters between the Anatolian Coast and the island of Meis and the sovereignty of the Black Island opposite Bodrum.

c. By Article 15 of the Lausanne peace treaty, only the island of Meis was ceded to Italy. However, with the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, in which Turkey was not on the table, Meis and its adjacent islets were requested to be ceded to Greece.

It is contrary to the principle of the integrity of the state country that the territory of Turkey, a sovereign state, wants to be shared with another state by a treaty that it is not a party to. In accordance with this principle, the country of a state established in accordance with the rules of international law cannot be subjected to any acts of division or fragmentation without the consent of that state. Other states must respect this integrity[1]. This principle was first introduced in the 10th edition of the league of Nations Convention. it is stated in the articles. United Nations Treaty, 2. Article 4. It was repeated in the paragraph. This principle, which has also become an international customary and customary law, binds not only states parties to the treaty, but also all states. Thus, all states are obliged to respect the integrity of the country of the Turkish state.

Borders are protected by international law. In principle, borders are untouchable. In other words, a state cannot forcibly cross the border of another state, (inviolables) cannot forcibly change the border of another state (intangibilités). Changing borders is possible by agreement. Therefore, the attempt to transfer Meis and its adjacent islets to Greece with the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, in which Turkey is not a party, is a violation of international law.

o. Article 15 of the Lausanne peace treaty gave Italy the ‘associated islets’ of the other 13 islands counted, except Meis, while according to Paragraph 1 of Article 14 of the Paris Peace Treaty, the ‘adjacent islets’ of the 14 islands counted in the article, including Meis, were transferred to Greece. As can be seen, the terms used by the two treaties are different from each other.

d. On the other hand, it is not clear which of the 13 islands that were taken from Italy and transferred to Greece in accordance with paragraph 1 of Article 14 of the Paris Peace Convention of 1947 are the connected/adjacent islets of the island of Meis.

e. In fact, in accordance with Article 16 of the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey’s approval should have been obtained in the transfer of these islands (as in the case of Cyprus).

f. According to Article 3 of the convention of January 4, 1932, The Black Island and the island of Fener, which were transferred to Italy by name, are not counted among the islands taken from Italy and transferred to Greece by name, according to Paragraph 1 of Article 14 of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947.

g. In such a case, it is necessary to mention the existence of islets that were transferred to Italy by Turkey but not transferred to Greece by Italy.

G. However, it is also a case that all of these islets were taken from Italy by the Treaty of Paris of 1947. Then it would be a more accurate approach to talk about the existence of islets, where Italy’s dominance has ended, but not given to the dominance of any other state.

h. December 14 January 1932 Convention and 28 December 1932 convention, which is not valid legal nature, insisted that Article 14 be referred to during the negotiations of the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947. However, the USSR rejected these demands, stating that Turkey was not on the table and that the 28 December 1932 convention did not have legal validity. December January 4, 1932, and December 28, 1932 protocol were not referred to in the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947.

6 of the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 dated 25 November 1922. in its numbered minutes, it was deemed appropriate that Imroz and Bozcaada and the island of Meis, due to their proximity to the Asian Coast, should be left in Turkey due to their location and proximity to the entrance of the Dardanelles Strait[2]. At the second session of the treaty, at the insistence of Italy, the island of Meis was left to them.

A pari, other islands located in Turkish territorial waters and Continental Shelf are Turkish territory. Since Imroz and Bozcaada are an example, it would not be wrong to say that there is no ambiguity about Fener Island and Black Island. In other words, Fener Island and Kara Island are connected to Turkey, they are islands connected to the Republic of Turkey.

At the conference, Ismet Pasha said: “small islands in territorial waters can very closely threaten the peace of Asia Minor; since they are a complementary part of this region, it is absolutely imperative that these islands be placed under the sovereignty of Turkey. However, since they are located in Turkish territorial waters, they must be under Turkish rule.”[3] he emphasized the importance and status of these islands.

In addition, these islands are vital for Turkey’s security. Zira, Kara Island is 5.50 km and Fener Island is 3.33 km from the Turkish coast. Kara Island is 588 km away and Fener Island is 324 km from the Greek coast. In other words, in the context of a geographical necessity, it is imperative that these islands merge with the Anatolian coast in order to meet their economic needs.

I. Because the document issued on December 28, 1932, is essentially a meeting minutes. The minutes of the meeting to the identity of the legally valid treaty, in order to gain 04 January 08 January 1933 and 1937 made between the mutual correspondence between the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the embassy of Italy, but from the correspondence of nine letters in total, could not be a sequel. For these reasons, the minutes of the meeting of 28 December 1932 did not qualify as an international treaty. Therefore, it is a legally invalid document. Furthermore, after the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, Greece provided notes of questions to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to confirm that the content of this protocol had been approved until 1962. This, in turn, clearly shows Greece’s suspicion.

i. In this case, it cannot be clear which of the adjacent islets are without reference to the convention of 4 January 1932, and the treaty that applies in this case will be the Lausanne peace treaty and its relevant article 15. According to Article 15, only the island of Meis was transferred to Italy. Furthermore, since Italy, the state that inherited the islands, has never established de facto sovereignty over the Black Island and Fener Island, which are parts of the transferred country, under this agreement, the transfer process, although controversial, has not fully taken place[4].

j. Therefore, according to the Lausanne Treaty, it is legally impossible to transfer more than Italy has with the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947 to Greece without Turkey’s approval. According to international law, no state can transfer more than its rights to another “nemo plus juris transfere potest quam ipse habet”.

This rule was also applied in the Palmas case of 1928. With the Spanish-American War of 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States. However, in 1906, an American official reported that the Dutch flag had been hoisted on the island. In addition, the United States and the Netherlands took the issue of sovereignty over the Philippines to the arbitrator, the judge declared that it was impossible for Spain to transfer more than it had. The reason for this is that the Netherlands extended its state authority without interruption and without contention, probably back in 1700[5]. Thus, it became clear that Spain’s transfer of the island to the United States is not legally valid. Therefore, it is not legally possible for Italy to cede its islands connected/adjacent to the island of Meis to Greece under the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, although its rights have been established.

Another case that may serve as an example of procedures for gaining sovereignty is the 1931 Clipperton case, which took place between France and Mexico. There are no settlements on this island. The island was dominated by France in the 19th century. In France, the island’s Emperor III. There is a promissory note declaring and declaring that it belongs to Napoleon. In addition, the French Consulate shared a declaration declaring France’s sovereignty over Clipperton in the Polynesian magazine published in Honolulu on December 8, 1858[6]. However, after 1887, France did not exercise sovereignty over Clipperton. After the French Navy inspected the island in question, Mexico did not accept French sovereignty over Clipperton, claiming that the island had been a piece of land owned by it for a long time. Mexico also sent a warship called La Democrata to the island. As a result, the referee declared that it was out of the question for France to lose its sovereign right through derelictio (abandonment). Because France has never had an animus (intention) to give up Clipperton Island, and it does not lead to the loss of a yet finally completed acquisition that it has not exercised its authority in a positive sense[7].

A pari, Turkey has never expressed an intention to give up its sovereignty over the Egaydaaks in the region, especially Fener Island and Karaadasi (Black island), except for Meis. Furthermore, the fact that he did not exercise his authority over some Egaydaaks does not cause a loss of rights. For this reason, Turkey’s sovereignty continues over other islands, islets and cliffs that have not been transferred by treaties in the region, with the exception of the island of Meis. This sovereignty also applies to Fener Island and Karaada (Black island).

n. If Italian sovereignty over these islands, other than the island of Meis, was ended by the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, then the original owner must have passed to the successor Republic of Turkey of the Ottoman State.

In a map recently published based on data provided by the US Environmental Research Institute (ESRI) and the global Geographic Information System (global GIS data), the fact that Fener Island belongs to Turkey shows that there is a tenakuz on the Greek side in this regard[8].

The islands that have been ceded to Greece are those designated by agreements. All other islands, islets and cliffs are under Ottoman rule. Therefore, the islands in question belong to the Republic of Turkey, the official successor state of the Ottoman Empire. There are no derelict islands, islets and rocks.

l. In this case, Turkey’s sovereignty over other islands, islets and cliffs in the region, with the exception of the island of Meis, continues. This reality also dispels Greece’s claim that the island of Meis is its exclusive economic zone. Because Fener Island and Black Island close the west, south and east of Meis island in this respect.

Resigned Rear AdmiralAssoc. Dr. Cihat Yayci

President of BAU DEGS

Asia Ayranci

Bau DEGS researcher

References

[1] «Uluslararası Hukuk», Hüseyin Pazarcı, Turhan Kitapevi, 19. Baskı, Ankara 2020, s.150

[2] “Lozan Barış Konferansı Tutanaklar Belgeler”, Seha L. Meray, Ankara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Yayınları, no 291, Takım I, Cilt I, Kitap I, s. 99.

[3] “Lozan Barış Konferansı Tutanaklar Belgeler”, Seha L. Meray, Ankara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Yayınları, no 291, Takım I, Cilt I, Kitap I, s. 97.

[4] “Yunanistan Talepleri (Ege Sorunları) Soru ve Cevaplarla”, Türk Tarihi Kurumu, Ankara 2020, s. 52.

[5] Milletlerarası Hukuk, Aslan Gündüz, Savaş Yayınevi, 2018, 9.cu baskı, s. 158.

[6] “Milletlerarası Hukuk”, Aslan Gündüz, Savaş Yayınevi, 2018, 9.cu baskı, s. 159.

[7] “Milletlerarası Hukuk”, Aslan Gündüz, Savaş Yayınevi, 2018, 9.cu baskı, s. 160.

[8] “Yunanistan Talepleri (Ege Sorunları) Soru ve Cevaplarla”, Türk Tarihi Kurumu, Ankara 2020, s. 53

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