Greece's extension of territorial waters in Aegean, 'cause of war' for Turkey - Greek Reporter

Former Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Saturday said Greece is ready to extend its territorial waters from 6 to 12 nautical miles in a move which Turkey has threatened in the past and is a cause of war, Greek Reporter news site said.

Koztias' statement arrives amid increased tensions between Ankara and Athens in recent months over the uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea.

Greece will expand its sovereignty towards the west from the Diapontia Islands, a cluster of small islands in the Ionian Sea, to Antikythera, an island lying between the Peloponnese and Crete, doing the same in the Aegean, the site reported.

While Greece has a legal right to extend its territorial sea to 12 nautical miles, as provided for by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Greek Reporter said, Ankara claims that the Aegean is a special case and if the provisions of the Law of the Sea are applied, Turkey will be cut off from the sea.

While noting that should Greece extend its territorial waters in the Aegean, it will increase its control from the current 43 percent to 71 percent and international waters will be reduced from 49 percent to less than 20 percent, the site noted that on 9 June 1995, the Turkish parliament officially declared that unilateral action by Greece would constitute a casus belli.

Greece, in response, condemned this as a violation of the Charter of the United Nations, which forbids “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”.