Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has often resorted to spreading misleading or outright false information in an attempt to justify his country’s illegal actions in the eastern Mediterranean.
One of the most key arguments Turkey tries to foist on public opinion and the global diplomatic fora is the supposed claim that Turkey has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean of any other country.
In his most recent statements in a video message, Erdogan reiterated this claim addressing a Turkish university workshop on the Eastern Mediterranean where he said: “The Eastern Mediterranean has been at the centre of developments in recent years and many countries are watching what is happening. Turkey, the country with the largest coastline in the Mediterranean, cannot follow the developments … from the sidelines.”
According to the CIA “The World Factbook”, however, Greece has a coastline of 13,676 km, while Turkey has 7,200 km, which clearly refutes the claims of Tayyip Erdogan.
Tayyip Erdogan’s obsession with the coastline is an attempt to provide a rationale behind his country’s adoption of the strategic policy called the “Blue Homeland”, through which Ankara seeks to impose the view that the islands have no EEZ and a continental shelf and that the determining factor of these sea concepts should be the mainland.
These ideas, which of course are not based on any concept of International Maritime Law, began to first emerge and be formulated in 2011 by a Navy officer named Jihad Yaiji. If at first, they seemed to be the maximalist ideas of a nationalist officer, now they are troubling the international community as they have become the official doctrine of the Turkish leadership.