A Navtex issued by Turkey’s navy on Tuesday for seismic surveys covers areas within Turkey’s continental shelf, the country’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, while accusing Greece of adopting “maximalist” claims.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Turkish ministry said that the Oruc Reis seismic exploration ship will conduct seismic research operations “entirely within” the Turkish continental shelf as declared to the United Nations and inside the blocks licensed to the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) for exploration in 2012.
It said that Turkey’s ship Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa had in the past carried out seismic research inside the same area.
“Greece raised objections to the current survey activity and claimed that the survey area is within its own continental shelf. Greece bases this claim on the presence of remote islands far from its own mainland, most notably Kastellorizo,” the ministry said.
“This maximalist continental shelf claim of Greece is contrary to international law, jurisprudence and court decisions,” it said.
“The argument that an island of 10 square kilometers, located only 2 kilometers away from Anatolia and 580 kilometers from the Greek mainland should generate a continental shelf area of 40,000 square kilometers is neither rational nor in line with international law. We therefore reject these unjustified assertions of Greece,” it said.
While reiterating calls to Greece for dialogue, the ministry said, “Turkey will also continue to defend its legitimate rights and interests stemming from international law.”
The Greek Foreign Ministry late Tuesday reacted to the Turkish Navtex, saying that it underscored Ankara’s “persistence in violating international legality and its complete contempt for international law.”
“Today’s announcement of Turkish surveys in a section of the Greek continental shelf, through a new illegal Navtex, constitutes an escalation of the tension in our region,” the ministry said.
“It highlights Turkey’s persistence in violating international legality and its complete contempt for international law, the international law of the sea, the rules governing good neighborly relations and the urgings of the European Union,” it said.