It is the first time since 1947 that Greece will be expanding its national sovereign territory, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday, as Parliament prepared to vote on a bill for the extension of Greece’s territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, from six, in the Ionian Sea.
He said Greece retained the right to exercise corresponding rights in Crete and other parts of its territory.
Turkey has warned that an eastern extension of Greece’s territorial borders would be a “casus belli,” or cause for war.
Mitsotakis said the country was expanding its sovereign territory “neither by annexing [foreign] territory, nor at the expense of other states, but by following procedures that are based on international law,” a reference to the United Nations Law of the Sea which gives Greece the right to extend its sea borders to 12 miles.
The Paris Peace Treaties of 1947 – signed between Italy and victorious allies after the Second World War – placed the 14 islands of the Dodecanese complex and dozens of islets under Greece.