Ahval 17/12/19

Dec 17 2019 01:31 Gmt+3

Greece should carve out its own map of the Mediterranean, showing its claims based on international laws in order to defend its rights in disputes with Turkey, Greek former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yannis Valinakis wrote in the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

Turkey is at odds with Greece and Cyprus over potentially rich gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions have increased since Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding with the internationally recognized government of Libya on Nov. 27 that sees Turkey and Libya as maritime neighbors. Greece says the deal ignores territorial waters around several of its islands.

“We need a new strategy which will be sober as well as proactive. The core of this strategy must be to safeguard all rights stemming from the international law of the sea. Such defence would not be based on vague references and theoretical arguments, but on finally carving out our own map that will illustrate precisely our rights and claims. This is the only basis on which a productive dialogue with Turkey can be held,” said Valinakis, a politician and academic.

Turkey has been flexing its military muscles in the Mediterranean for more than a year, sending naval vessels to escort gas exploration ships off Cyprus and blocking other countries’ drill ships from working in the area. It also carried out its largest-ever exercises in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas this year.

What Turkey wants, said Valinakis, “is to draw Greece into constant unilateral concessions or even an open conflict”.