U.S diverges from Greek positions on airspace demarcation, Department of State reports shows

The US State Department report to Congress says it is impossible to assess Turkish airspace violations

The U.S States Department appears to be adopting Turkish positions with regards to Greece’s claims of the delimitation of its airspace, according to a report by the State Department to Congress.

The report declares its inability to provide a complete list of confirmed Turkish violations of Greek airspace, as of January 1, 2017, because, as it states, Greece and the US do not have the same opinion regarding the scope of Greek airspace.

The relevant report, cited by Cyprus News Agency, was delivered to the leadership of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees of the House and the Senate, based on the provisions of the Law on the Eastern Mediterranean (East Med Act).

The reasons why the US is not able to present a list of Turkish violations are the following:

“First, Greece claims airspace that extends up to 10 nautical miles from its coastline and territorial waters up to 6 nautical miles. According to international law, a country’s airspace coincides with its territorial waters. Thus, the United States recognises up to 6 nautical miles of Greek airspace, according to the territorial waters of Greece. Therefore, Greece and the United States do not share the same view on the extent of Greek airspace.”

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The second reason is that, although Greece is currently claiming up to 6 nautical miles of territorial waters in the Aegean, “Greece and its neighbours have not agreed on the demarcation of borders in areas where their legal maritime rights overlap. The lack of such demarcation means that there is no clarity regarding the extent of the territorial waters of Greece and the corresponding airspace in these areas, making impossible any assessment of the total violations of the airspace of Greece “.

Concluding, the report states that the United States encourages Greece and Turkey to resolve outstanding bilateral maritime border issues peacefully and in accordance with international law.