Turkey has forwarded a note verbale to the United Nations in response to a Greek one sent to the international organization on February 20, the Greek Foreign Ministry announced late on Tuesday.
According to the Greek Foreign Ministry, the Turkish verbal note challenges the right of the Greek islands to a continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, in violation of article 121 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Athens had submitted a verbal note to the UN notifying international officials of Turkey’s granting of exploration permits for areas deemed to cover the Greek continental shelf.
At the time Turkey’s Foreign Ministry had issued a statement defending its decision, noting that the permits that had been issued since 2007 to the state-owned oil company TRAO concerned territories within boundaries of the Turkish continental shelf in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In separate interviews published in Sunday’s Kathimerini on March 10, Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu said they were hopeful the two countries could resolve their differences in the Aegean Sea, though through different routes.
While Greece is using international law as a guideline for the development of an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Turkey would like to see a bilateral agreement.
Both ministers were speaking following a Greek-Turkish High-Level Cooperation Council held in Istanbul earlier this month, during which Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.