Turkey “annexes” Greek island of Kastellorizo in provocative statement

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a provocative statement

Turkey is escalating its provocations against Greece following an official statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry which directly disputes the demarcation of maritime zones for the Greek islands claiming their territorial sea does not reach beyond six miles.

The Spokesperson of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hami Aksoy responded to a statement issued by Greece and Egypt on the agreement signed between Turkey and Libya on the maritime jurisdiction area.

The statement effectively writes off any maritime rights for the Greek island of Kastellorizo which is located off the south-west coast of Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement is as follows:

By the agreement signed with Libya, a part of the western borders of our maritime jurisdiction areas in the Eastern Mediterranean is delimited. The agreement is in accordance with the court decisions that create the international jurisprudence and international law including the relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

All parties are in essence aware that islands cannot have a cut-off effect on the coastal projection of Turkey, the country with the longest continental coastline in Eastern Mediterranean, that the islands which lie on the wrong side of the median line between two mainlands cannot create maritime jurisdiction areas beyond their territorial waters and that the length and direction of the coasts should be taken into account in delineating maritime jurisdiction areas. As a matter of fact, prior to the signing of the said agreement, Turkey has repeatedly invited all parties to negotiations for a consensus based on equity and remains ready for negotiations. However, instead of engaging in negotiations in response to Turkey’s international law and equity-based approach, the parties only preferred to take unilateral steps and try to shift blame on Turkey. Maximalist and uncompromising Greek and Greek Cypriot claims lie behind this understanding, whereas for example, Kastellorizo, a small island immediately across the Turkish mainland is supposed to generate a maritime jurisdiction area of four thousand times larger than its own surface. This understanding caused Egypt to lose an area of 40.000 square kilometers.

Through this agreement with Libya, the two countries have clearly manifested their intention not to allow any fait accomplis.