There was what was described as mild concern in Athens on Wednesday after a US State Department report to Congress said it is unable to provide a full list of confirmed violations of Greece’s airspace by Turkish fighter jets after January 1, 2017 due to a lack of consensus on the breadth of Greek national airspace.
The report was sent to Congress in March and its existence was revealed on Wednesday by Greek correspondents in Washington. It states that Greece claims airspace that extends up to 10 nautical miles and territorial waters of up to 6 nautical miles. Although Athens currently claims up to 6 nautical miles of territorial waters in the Aegean, the report notes that “Greece and its neighbors have not agreed on boundary delimitation in those areas where their lawful maritime entitlements overlap.”
“Lack of such delimitation means there is no clarity on the extent of Greece’s territorial sea and corresponding airspace in these areas rendering any assessment of total violations not feasible,” it said.
Greek diplomatic sources said that the limits of Greece’s territorial waters, as well as the maritime borders between Greece and Turkey, have been clearly defined for years on the basis of conventional and customary international law and “cannot be disputed.”
“The maritime borders have been defined by the Italy-Turkey Agreement signed in Ankara on January 4, 1932, as well as the minutes which form an integral part of this deal which were signed on December 28, 1932,” the sources said. “Greece, as the successor state under the Treaty of Paris of 1947, gained sovereignty over the Dodecanese without any change in the maritime borders, as agreed between Italy and Turkey,” it added.