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Turkey’s Legal Approach to Maritime Boundary Delimitation in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

For more than a decade, the states bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea have been in disagreement over the delineation of their maritime boundaries. The disagreements concern various parts of the region and create enormous political tension over energy-related activities. Ever since Egypt and the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus (GASC) signed the very first delimitation agreement of the region, without securing Turkey’s involvement, Turkey has issued many official statements and carried out energy-related activities in the region. Based on the principle that maritime delimitation should be carried out to reach an equitable solution by taking all the relevant circumstances into account, Turkey has developed a comprehensive legal approach as to the maritime delimitation in the Eastern Mediterranean and even submitted a map to the UN to demonstrate Turkey’s claimed continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) areas. The details of this comprehensive approach should be examined, to identify both the claims of Turkey over the maritime borders and the related legal arguments.

Turkey s Legal Approach to Maritime Boundary Delimitation in the
Representatives from the governments of Turkey and Greece meet to begin the 61st round of exploratory talks at Dolmabahçe, İstanbul, on January 25, 2021.
 

 

 

 

Introduction

 

The Mediterranean Sea is a narrow enclosed sea requiring the coastal states to draw maritime boundaries to separate their respective continental shelves and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). The Eastern Mediterranean Sea is currently the most contested section. The coastal States have conflicting views concerning the possible courses of the maritime borders. Alongside the disagreements over the delimited areas, the established boundaries through bilateral agreements have not secured the endorsement of all the related sides. These maritime boundary disputes cause the political tension to flare-up whenever one side or more conduct energy-related activities. In almost every instance, a coastal State has contested the act of the other bringing the whole situation to a point of near military confrontation.

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