Dear friends goodevening from Athens and welcome to the 23rd episode of the series «Geopolitical Developments». First of all, we apologize that we did not upload a new episode last week but as you saw in our announcement, some corrections had to be made in episode 21, since we had included some texts from the Greek Foreign Ministry, which we have been surprised to find out that are a copyright!!! of the ministry!!! We won’t comment further, we’re just sorry to see some crazy stuff like this to happen. So let’s go, and tonight as we have said, we will talk about the position of Greece and Turkey on the issue of the demarcation of the continental shelf and the EEZ in the Aegean sea. So this episode will be consisted by three chapters. In the first, we will see the position of Greece, in the second, the position of Turkey and in the third, some more information Our sources are: the official website of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the official website of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the wikipedia website, the United Nations website and also many other websites from which we got information, from some articles, analysis, news, videos, etc. So let’s start our episode but first let’s remind you again, that there are 2 definitions for the continental shelf. The geological and the legal. You will see that this will play an important role in our tonight’s episode. So let’s start. CONTINENTAL SHELF and EEZ Chapter 1st THE POSITION OF GREECE We will not provide details on the historical course of this issue but we will only say that this started in 1973 and exists to this day. It should also be noted that in the interim there have been several times strong tensions between the two countries that almost reached even to war. So far, Greece and Turkey have not reached to an agreement on the continental shelf. The Greek side believes that the delimitation of the continental shelf in the Aegean, with Turkey, it has to be done under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. That is, based on the legal definition of the continental shelf. Let’s remind ourselves what the legal definition is: According to the convention, the continental shelf has a width off the coastline as the outer edge of the continental margin or 200 nautical miles when the previous width mentioned (continental margin) is less than 200 nm. This only happens when geologically the continental margin is less than 200 nm. So the continental shelf has at least 200 nm. width from the coastline regardless of seabed morphology. If the continental margin is greater than 200 nm. then the width increases but there are some limits. As we have just recalled, this means that the Greek continental shelf is extends at least 200 nm from the coastline. Let’s see the Aegean sea on our map to understand exactly the position of Greece. We see the Aegean sea in the middle with the Greek islands and the mainland Greece and Turkey, on the left and right. Let’s take a look at distances first to get a better understanding of the space. If we measure in nm the distance from the eastern end of Euboea to the Turkish coast opposite the island of Chios, in Cesme, we will see that it is about 77 nm. From the eastern end of Attica o the Turkish coast opposite the island of Samos, we will see that it is about 140 nm. As we can see in the case of the Aegean sea we are talking about a maritime space which in its most part, its width is less than 200 nm. The position of Greece as we said before is based on what it says the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Let’s explain it in greater detail as at the the same time we are looking at our map. 1)… The continental shelf extends from the coast of the coastal state at least 200 nm. 2)… All the islands have a continental shelf except the uninhabited or those who cannot sustain economic life of their own. Now is the most important point … pay attention! Since all the islands have a continental shelf, so as an example and the island of Limnos, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Rhodes, etc…. have too! so the coasts of these islands are opposite, are opposite coasts either with the coasts of mainland Greece or with the coasts of the other islands. So for example we see the continental shelf of Euboea and the continental shelf west of the island of Chios they meet because they have opposite, they have opposite coasts. So all of this continental shelf is Greek. Euboea coasts are not opposite to Turkish coasts, neither are Chios coasts opposite, on its west side, to Turkish coasts, So, since the islands, according to the Convention on the Law, have continental shelf and they also have opposite coasts with mainland Greece or some other Greek island, all this area is Greek continental shelf. There is no question of demarcating the continental shelf with any other state since the two opposite coasts belong to the same state. This is what the Greek side says and so does the Law of the Sea. I hope that i managed to explain it to you. The only areas that Greece says are not delimited and need to come to an agreement with Turkey to delimit them, as the opposite coast belongs to Turkey, are: The area after the Evros border, that is, the continuation of the Greek-Turkish border into the sea and… 2)… the maritime space between the coasts of the Greek islands and the coasts of Turkey, either mainland Turkey or its islands such as the islands of Tenedos and Imbros, specifically… A)… in the northern Aegean, ie Samothraki, Lemnos and maybe Agios Efstratios … B) in the Eastern Aegean, ie Lesbos, Chios, Oinousses, Samos C) and the Dodecanese ie Rhodes, Symi, Kos, etc. but also smaller islands as long as they are inhabited such as Agathonissi, Pharmakonisi, etc. Let’s stop here and say that we deliberately didn’t mention the island of Kastellorizo to emphasize that the same is true of Kastellorizo which belongs to the Dodecanese and is located in the southern Aegean but because it is more eastern and cut off from the rest of the Dodecanese, many do not refer to it as an island of the Aegean Sea but as an island of the Eastern Mediterranean. We will make a special episode about the island of Kastellorizo to see together and some Turkish maps and today we will talk more for the rest of the Aegean sea. We move on… So we saw that Greece’s position is that only these maritime areas need to be delimited with an agreement with Turkey and based on the principle of equal distance/midline. All the rest of the Aegean sea is Greek continental shelf. Just to remind you what this means. Sovereign rights not sovereignty. That is, the natural resources of the seabed and the subsoil but also sedentary species living and non-living organisms, can be explored and exploit exclusively from Greece. The surface of the sea remains where international waters are, and whatever exists in the adjacent waters, that is, fish etc, does not belong exclusively to Greece. This, is the continental shelf. The EEZ also grants sovereign rights to adjacent waters, that is to say and in fishery and also as we have said in wind energy, etc. Let’s go now to see on our map, the territorial waters of Greece in the Aegean sea but also of mainland Turkey and its islands. These are the territorial waters of the 2 countries, that extend as we had said at 6 nm. or if the distance between the coasts of the two countries is less, the principle of equal distance / midline applies. Before moving on to Turkey’s position on the issue of continental shelf demarcation, let’s just stop here and say we will do some separate episodes with Turkey’s positions on all Greek-Turkish issues since of course we first study and research various sources of information. We move on… If finally there is no any solution that is, an agreement between Greece and Turkey, the Greek side believes that this issue must be promoted and resolved by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, so that it does not remain unresolved forever. Chapter 2 THE POSITION OF TURKEY On the official website of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, few are mentioned on the delimitation of the continental shelf between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean sea. It is simply stated that no delimitation has yet been made and that the issue is the continental shelf delimitation beyond the 6 nm of the territorial waters of the two littoral states. Nothing is said about the Greek or Turkish islands but only as we just said about “two littoral states”. But let’s look at the statements that have been made from time to time by various Turkish politicians and government officials so that we understand what is Turkey’s position. First of all, Turkey says that the Greek islands have no continental shelf. Turkey argues not according to the legal definition of the continental shelf mentioned in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea but according to its geological definition. Let’s remind ourselves what it is. The continental shelf is the coastal part of the seabed, the undersea smooth extension of the coast, which starts from the coastline and reaches to the point where the seabed gets a large slope. So, the Turkish side says that the Greek islands are on Turkey’s continental shelf. In its own continental shelf, the continental shelf of Anatolia and that the islands are just, lifted parts of the seabed. Let’s have a better look on what they say, in our drawing. On the right side, with the brown color we see the coast of Turkey and in the middle with the blue color is the Aegean sea. Let’s say that this is the continental shelf of Turkey. The underwater extension of Anatolia. Turkey says that the Aegean islands, such as the island of Chios, is a lifted part of the seabed. As if to say that in some parts of the Aegean the seabed was raised and the islands were created. The term “lifted part of the seabed” from our research is mainly used for reefs. Of course we are not geologists to know if there is a definition of “lifted part of the seabed” and for the islands, we just tell you the view of the Turkish side. So according to this view, this is a Turkish continental shelf and the Greek islands have no continental shelf hence the delimitation of the continental shelf between Greece and Turkey must be done with the two opposite coasts of the continental land of the two countries. This is what Turkey considers to be the opposite shores to use for the delimitation. So in simple terms, for Turkey it is as if there are no Greek islands in the Aegean sea. It erases them. It doesn’t take them into account at all. Neither the small nor the big. Neither Crete nor Euboea. And in this way it divides the Aegean into the middle. So for example, if the delimitation is done with the principle of equal distance / midline, then, as we saw earlier, the distance of Attica to the Turkish coast opposite the island of Samos is about 140 nm and therefore 70 nm will belong to Greece and the other 70 nm to Turkey. This is Turkey’s view of the middle line in the Aegean. And on our map we can see a drawing sample of what Turkey means. To the left in blue is the continental shelf of Greece and to the right in red is the Turkish one. The red line in the middle is the boundary that divides the Aegean. We stress again to avoid being misunderstood that the drawing is rough and not detailed just to give you a picture of the situation. We do not know exactly from where this “middle line” will cross. In this way Turkey will be able to exploit the natural resources of the seabed, etc either to the west of the island of Lesbos or to the west of the island of Ikaria, Kos, etc. and send its own research vessels to do underwater research and later shipe for drilling and of course if they discover deposits of natural resources also to install offshore drilling rigs. But let’s say that there is a second view that the delimitation of the continental shelf perhaps it should be done with the method of an equitable sharing based on the length of the coastlines of each country. Turkey says this, mainly for the region of the island of Kastellorizo where it considers that such a small island cannot designate such a large EEZ, always compared to the huge coastline of southern Turkey. Chapter 3 GENERAL INFORMATION As we have seen the official position of Greece s that the delimitation of the continental shelf t must be done in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and its legal definition as worded therein, and although Turkey’s official position does not refer to anything specific, the Turkish politicians’ statements push for an agreement based on its geological definition and on the basis of equal profits for both countries. You may have heard this again by the phrase “win-win” that the Turkish politicians frequently use. It should also be noted that Turkey has not signed the UN Convention and so it does not accept it, but according to the ISC decision the 1958 UN Convention for the definition of the continental shelf is now customary law and commits countries that do not have signed it. So we can see that the 1958 Convention states that the islands have continental shelf and so this commits Turkey. Moving on … Of course as we can see on our map, in Turkey’s view, the Greek islands of the Eastern Aegean will be found within the Turkish continental shelf, which is unprecedented and that is why many times Turkey has used another phrase that Greece does not like at all: “these islands are on the wrong side of the middle line.” Here, we have to say and remind lest we forget, that there were also some Greek foreign ministers, who with various statements agreed that Turkey because of its long coastline cannot be ruled out and has a role in the energy issues of the eastern Mediterranean. From what you saw we didn’t mention EEZ at all. So as for the EEZ, let’s say that it is common the geographical coordinates of the continental shelf delimitation to coincide with the EEZ since both, the continental shelf and the EEZ, they are about natural resources, and that’s why we refer to them as one issue. But let’s also say that in none of the 2 websites of the two ministries did we see anything about EEZ. Let’s note that as far as we know the Turkish side is not talking about EEZ, because as we have said, the EEZ is not defined by any geological definition but it is steadily 200 nm off the coast of every coastal state and of course of the islands too. So since Turkey has no arguments to argue with Greece over the Greek islands that are entitled to EEZ, and therefore does not talk about it but only for the continental shelf. But one more thing that is very important and we want to point out is this. In cases where no agreement was reached between the 2 States on the continental shelf / EEZ and both states eventually resorted to the to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to resolve the issue there, the court decisions in general did not justify one part. Also, for each case different data were taken into account, various factors and elements were weighed and eventually decisions were made, which although the cases may have had similarities τhey were quite different from each other. This means that Greece can rely on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and to resort to the ICJ with Turkey but the result may not be what he expects, especially in the case of the island of Kastellorizo Dear friends at this point we reached to the end of tonight’s episode, that was about the positions of Greece and Turkey on the continental shelf and the EEZ. We would definitely like to say more and we have definitely forgotten to say some things. I hope that you liked the episode and you enjoyed it. I would like to thank you for watching us, to ask you to subscribe to our youtube channel to our facebook page and also to share our videos on social media so that our company can grow more. And also… …i would like to wish you to have a great weekend and we’ll probably be with you with a special episode in the middle of the week about current developments either for the Greek-Turkish relations or for the coronavirus in China, that we see that concerns a lot of people. Thank you and good night to everyone.