Ankara, Turkey – Over the past few years, Turkey has used its regional economic, political and military superiority to stake a claim over disputed, potentially oil-rich regions of the Eastern Mediterranean. This national strategy, domestically called “Blue homeland” or “blue Homeland”, most recently manifested itself in the deployment of Turkey’s seismic vessel Oruç Reis by naval escort to disputed waters south and west of Cyprus. Despite widespread and growing international criticism of this doctrine and its related activities, Turkey has so far remained steadfast in its determination.

This was exemplified by the recent announcement that the Turkish navy was proud to wave the majestic Turkish flag across all its seas. The Turkish Navy is ready to protect every area of the Blue homeland of 462 thousand square kilometers with great determination and to undertake any task that may come. The implications of Turkey’s “blue Homeland” doctrine and related activities and the potential of Turkey’s current policies, which allow it to achieve its strategic “Blue Homeland” goals, are vital to Turkey’s universal interests.

Turkey’s “Blue Homeland” strategy was designed as a tool to end Turkey’s almost complete dependence on foreign energy sources and make Turkey a net exporter of energy. Turkey’s declaration marks the logical continuity of a policy that has defined Turkey’s relationship with the Eastern Mediterranean for the past five years. 2017 Turkey since some of the private companies competing on the world’s largest exploration and exploitation capabilities with the world’s largest oil exporting drill ships and seismic research vessels to the top tier of states with a fleet of three planted two bought.

In addition to gaining access to hydrocarbons on the seabed, Turkey is increasingly engaged in exploration activities in the potentially lucrative oil fields of the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey’s two drill ships, Fatih and Yavuz, have been deployed in legal EEZ waters to the East and south of the island of Cyprus for the past few years. More recently, Turkey sent the seismic ship Oruç Reis with a naval escort to legal waters west and south of Cyprus.

On the diplomatic front, Turkey has entered into a series of agreements seemingly approving its exploration activities. In 2011, Turkey signed an agreement with the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC) aimed at limiting the continental shelf border between Cyprus and Turkey. As a continuation of this agreement, TPAO signed oil services and production share agreements with the TRNC covering one onshore and seven offshore areas in Turkish Cypriot waters. In 2019, Turkey signed an agreement with the Libyan Government to demarcate its maritime borders with a national agreement aimed at allocating the two countries ‘ maritime zones in waters. Since then, Turkey has designated seven license areas in the waters covered by the oil exploration and drilling agreement.

At the same time, Turkey has strengthened its military presence in the region with a clear demonstration of its naval and air capabilities. The Sea Wolf exercise, held in 2019 to demonstrate “the Turkish Armed Forces ‘ commitment and ability to protect the country’s security as well as its rights and interests at sea”, involved more than 25,000 personnel and 100 ships in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas. More recently, Turkey announced that Greece was launching live-fire naval exercises in the Mediterranean as a direct response to the ratification of a naval agreement with Egypt.

Amid these developments, Turkey continues to claim legitimacy in its search for hydrocarbon resources. Turkey does not look after someone else’s land, sovereignty and interests, but will make no concessions that Turkey is determined to do whatever it takes.

Exploration work in the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey for two legal grounds: his discoveries and Turkey’s sovereign rights to exploit hydrocarbon resources, all such resources, and exclusive rights, including private property owned waters that occurred in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, pursuant to license issued by that made has progressed.

In 1960, Cyprus achieved independence through the Zurich and London agreements between Britain, Greece and Turkey. In 1974, in response to sectarian violence between the majority Greek and minority Turkish population and threatening the unification of the island with Greece, the Turks of Northern Cyprus declared the TRNC, an independent state of 40 percent of the island, in 1974. However, only Turkey accepts the TRNC’s claim to statehood.

The TRNC has the right to declare maritime zones, negotiate international agreements or grant concessions or any rights in Turkish Cypriots waters. Turkey’s reliance on maritime border agreements negotiated with the TRNC and “grants” or “concessions” of the “TRNC” in maritime regions. As the ongoing Turkish legal activities in the Turkish Exclusive Economic Zone and territorial waters of Turkish Cypriots represent a clear endorsement of international law reflected in the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea. This is Turkey’s sixth attempt in less than a year to legally carry out drilling activities in the maritime regions of the TRNC.

The TRNC of the waters outside Turkey “ipso facto and ab initio legal and sovereign rights” to justify its activities by claiming that exploration is conducted in waters that have tried, and this research is executed in turns on Turkey’s continental shelf claim. Article 77 of the United Nations Convention on the law of the Sea (UNCLOS).according to its article, a state such as Turkey has the exclusive right of sovereignty “for the purpose of exploring and exploiting” the natural resources of the continental shelf “including minerals and other lifeless resources of the seabed and sub-soil. Although Turkey is not a state party to UNCLOS, the provisions of the article 77 reflect traditional international law and therefore both strengthen and restrict Turkey’s (and other states’) continental shelf rights. In the absence of unusual underground conditions, the maximum width of a state’s Continental Shelf is 200 nautical miles (nm) from the baseline, which is typically the low waterline of its shores.

Here, as opposed to (for example the GCA and Egypt) or adjacent (e.g. Greece and Turkey) the continental shelf rights of states when they overlap with traditional international law (as reflected in Article 74 and 83 of UNCLOS (), that states “Fair” in order to reach a solution based on international law agreements on the limitation of requires a limit on. In the eastern Mediterranean, Egypt and Cyprus agreed in 2003 to limit their maritime borders (which Turkey does not recognize). As discussed earlier, Turkey and Libya agreed on a maritime border in 2019 (where Greece and the GCA protested), and Greece and Egypt demarcated their maritime border in August 2020 (where Turkey protested). 34 of the Vienna Convention on the law of is important to note that these bilateral agreements create neither obligations nor rights for a third state without its consent. In other words, these negotiated boundary (and associated resource) limits are intended to create rights and obligations only for states that are considered for themselves.

The court of Arbitration made through a negotiated agreement or judicial or both UNCLOS and customary international law of the relevant states of the base, the closest point (a line, an equal distance to each point) provisional equidistance line begins with drawing, which is crystallized under a “fair” for the process of determining the limit of the sea during the holidays. This equality line, also called the median line, should be set as equality demands to take into account specific or relevant conditions, such as a marked disproportion between the length of the parties ‘ respective coasts and their specific marine areas. All maritime boundary demarcation agreements referred to above and others negotiated in the region (GCA-Lebanon and GCA-Israel) have adopted equality as the basic legal doctrine for determining “equality”.”Equality also seems to be the basic principle in Turkey’s unilateral declaration of the maritime border between itself and Egypt, which the GCA is protesting, and in the unilateral declaration of the GCA’s continental shelf border with Turkey.

4 May 2019 presentation by the GCA to the UN on the declared external borders of the EEZ/continental shelf in relation to Turkey. With regard to Greece and Turkey, Greece petitioned the International Court of Justice in 1976 to limit its own continental shelves and Turkey’s borders. Turkey challenged the court’s jurisdiction, and in a 1978 decision, the court agreed with Turkey and dismissed the case. The two countries have not reached an agreement on maritime border demarcation since.

Turkey’s exploration activities in support of the Blue Homeland occurred in disputed waters-waters in which regional states, which often have a long history of antagonistic relations with Turkey, have temporary maritime rights superior to those of Turkey. These aggrieved neighbors, friends and allies have strongly objected to Turkey’s legal actions with words and actions. All this has significantly increased regional security.

But there seems to be no really attractive alternative for Turkey to realize its” Blue Homeland ” aspirations. The discovery of significant hydrocarbon deposits in Turkey’s Black Sea waters, as mentioned earlier, could give Turkey some room to retreat as a policy option from some of its militant and uncompromising statements about accommodation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkey’s” Blue Homeland ” strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean is fraught with challenges. Turkey is economically strong, it is strong enough to impose its will by force. Turkey’s options for pursuing the “Blue Homeland” strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean still seem defiant.