ATHENS – Greece’s authorities has introduced a invoice to parliament that doubles the nation’s territorial waters alongside its western frontiers, permitting it to take advantage of untapped vitality reserves that may increase its ailing economic system. Greece desires to additionally broaden its frontiers alongside its jap borders, within the Aegean however its neighbor, Turkey, rejects the transfer, saying it might spell conflict. Nonetheless, the 2 NATO allies, which have seen relations plummet dangerously within the final yr over vitality rights, are gearing for a recent effort at exploratory talks to type out their variations.
In presenting the invoice for ratification by parliament, Overseas Minister Nikos Dendias mentioned it marked a historic second for the nation, a part of a much bigger try and protect its sovereign pursuits as Greece and Turkey stay locked in a harmful standoff over vitality and maritime rights within the jap Mediterranean.
The invoice is the results of years of negotiations between Greece and Italy, redefining their maritime boundaries and establishing an unique financial zone that enables Athens to now survey the Ionian waterway and seabed that divides Greece and Italy for as much as 19 kilometers from Greece’s western coast.
That’s twice as a lot as earlier than.
The same settlement can be being sought out with Albania which not too long ago agreed to take the maritime case to arbitration on the worldwide courtroom at The Hague – one thing which Greece has additionally been making an attempt to persuade Turkey to do to type out long-standing variations involving the Aegean Sea, an oil-and minerals-rich waterway that divides the 2 NATO allies.
Bent on exploring untapped gasoline and oil reserves within the seabed that surrounds Greece, Athens has lengthy been eager to increase its borders alongside its jap frontiers – a transfer that Turkey has been strongly resisting, saying that any such designs would choke off its entry to the Aegean, turning the waterway into considerably of a Greek lake.
Ankara has warned that any determination by Athens to increase territorial rights within the Aegean would spark conflict – a risk Greece is reluctant to disregard, particularly after the 2 NATO allies got here to the brink of an all-out battle in that actual waterway simply 20 years in the past.
Relations between the 2 age-old foes have seesawed for years since then. However previously yr, they escalated dangerously due to oil and gasoline drilling initiatives underway in disputed waters within the jap Mediterranean.
And whereas Turkey has snubbed repeated makes an attempt by the European Union to mediate exploratory talks with Greece, it now seems to be returning to the negotiating desk.
In latest days, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held essential talks with key EU officers.
Extra are anticipated to comply with as Ankara, in response to analysts, seems to be making an attempt to rekindle its ties with the West after U.S. sanctions have been imposed on the nation’s protection business for buying a Russian anti-ballistic system in breach of its NATO alliance dedication. The EU can be warning of sanctions it too could impose in March.
Dimitris Keridies, a Greek lawmaker and professor of worldwide relations, explains.
On this sense, he mentioned, Erdogan is nearly predictable in how he’s behaving. He’s clearly beneath stress and he desires to revive relations with European states, Israel, Arab states and the U.S., particularly with the brand new president coming in, to indicate a distinct face to all, primarily the Europeans, forward of a March summit that can resolve on the destiny of these sanctions.
Greece has lengthy welcomed any Turkish return to exploratory talks; but it surely desires them to happen beneath an agreed agenda of subjects, says Tassos Hadjivassiliou, a number one lawmaker.
In the event that they wish to return to the negotiating desk, Hadjivassiliou mentioned, then they need to comply with the agenda of the talks. And that, he explains, can embody nothing greater than points surrounding exploitation within the Aegean Sea. Every other points are simply unacceptable claims.
It stays unclear what the finalized agenda will function. However authorities officers in Athens inform VOA the exploratory talks could start inside weeks.