Athens reacts to Turkey claiming 24 blocks outlined in map

Athens reacts to Turkey claiming 24 blocks outlined in map

The publication in the Turkish government’s gazette of a map outlining areas of the Greek continental shelf where Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has applied for exploration permits has drawn an angry response from Athens, which warned it is fully prepared to respond in the event that Ankara chooses to conduct exploratory activities in these areas.

The map shows the 24 blocks that Ankara has demarcated from its shores to the point where its sea borders meet Libya, based on the maritime border agreement it signed with the North African country’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) last December.

The agreement has been fiercely condemned by Greece as a violation of its sovereign rights. It has been declared illegal by Cyprus, Israel and Egypt as well, while the European Union has also opposed it. 

Denouncing Ankara’s efforts to “usurp Greece’s sovereign rights,” Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Monday that “Turkey’s illegal activities do not produce any legal effects.” 

“Let us be clear. Our views on this issue and on the consequences of Turkish illegality are well-known. They have been repeatedly conveyed to Turkey,” he said. “Greece was and remains fully prepared to deal with this provocation, if Turkey decides to implement it,” he added.

Turkey’s Ambassador to Greece​​​​​​ Burak Ozugergin was summoned to the Greek Foreign Ministry in Athens, where he was handed a demarche.

Athens sees the map as an illustration of Turkey’s claims that encroach on Greek sovereign rights, as some of these blocks are located six nautical miles east of Rhodes, Karpathos, Kassos and eastern Crete.

The delimitation of 24 blocks (O 20, O 21, P 20, P 21, R 18, R 19, R 20, R 21, S 16, S 17, S18, S 19, S 20, S 21, T 16, T 17, T 18, T 19, U 16, U 17, U 18, U 19, V 18 and V 19) extend from the southeast of Crete to the Gulf of Fethiye located north of Rhodes.

The western boundary of the blocks O 20, P 20, R 18, R 19, S 16, S 17 and T 16 reaches up to six nautical miles from the Greek islands of Rhodes and Crete and traces the map layout of the Turkey-Libya memorandum.

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