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January 8, 2013

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THE TIME HAS COME - Which Nations Support Greece's EEZ - Samaras To Meet Erdogan


The government in Athens is certainly getting prepared and from what it looks like, it is going to proclaim Greece's EEZ ("partial" or "total") very, very soon. Despite concern from leaks to the press about its intentions, (attributed to many voices at the Foreign Ministry who do not want such a development), the Greek government is nonetheless proceeding as scheduled and is not planning to look back. This is why the government did not respond to the threatening and provocative statements from Turkish Foreign Minister A.Davutoglu who on Monday warned Athens with a heated crisis -or WAR- if it dared to move ahead and proclaim its EEZ. Now that Greece has the support of Russia, France, Germany, Israel, and even the US, Greece is determined to exercises its universal right, and will proceed with its plans.

This was already determined at the end of 2012, but the government has made a big effort not to leak any such information. Now that its intentions have become public knowledge, Ankara of course did not hesitate to react. Nonetheless nothing will change, the only thing that might happen is a meeting between Greek Prime Minsiter Antonis Samaras and Turkish leader R.T.Erdogan. Reports are saying that the meeting will probably be held ASAP and some suspect that it will be held in Turkey, but this will not change Greece's designs in proceeding with its plans to proclaim its EEZ.

Basically Athens wants to stay on top of things, and be one step ahead of Turkey who has already declared that it is going to deploy its own survey vessels. The scenarios that talk about the developments in Syria and the proclamation of Greece's EEZ are also true. There will be such an accumulation of warships in the area that it would be foolish of Turkey to even attempt a move against Greece. (Moreover, we here at HellasFrappe also believe that it can actually destabilize NATO since both Greece and Turkey are supposed allied members).

Also, it's not a coincidence that major Greek aeronautical exercises have begun over the areas in the Eastern Mediterranean where Turkey wants to conduct its own surveys.

As revealed by defencenet on Tuesday night, Athens has filed the necessary documentation at the UN  for this very purpose in May of 2012. Attached are the provisions as dictated by Convention on the Law of the Sea, 4001/2011, which determine status surveys for hydrocarbon deposits and allow the international community to be up-to-date about Greece's position in regards to defining its territorial waters.

Included are references to Greece's right to explore and exploit hydrocarbons on its continental land, in lakes and sea areas where the Greek Republic has sovereignty, or hold sovereign rights, in respect to the provisions dictated in the 1982 Convention, part of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Turkey has refused to become a member of the convention and does not consider itself bound by it. Turkey considers the convention as res inter alios acta, i.e. a treaty that can only be binding to the signing parties but not to others. Greece, which is a party to the convention, has stated that it reserves the right to apply this rule and extend its waters to 12 miles. It holds that the 12 mile rule is not only treaty law but also customary law, as per the wide consensus established among the international community.

Against this, Turkey argues that the special geographical properties of the Aegean Sea make a strict application of the 12 mile rule in this case illicit in the interest of equity.

Also, and in the wake of the Imia crisis, the Turkish government widened its argumentation to include not only Imia but also a possibly large number of other islands and small formations across the Aegean. Since then, Turkish authorities have spoken of "grey zones" of undetermined sovereignty. According to the Turkish argument, these islets, while not explicitly retained under Turkish sovereignty in 1923, were also not explicitly ceded to any other country, and their sovereignty has therefore remained objectively undecided.

The Turkish government has avoided stating exactly which islets it wishes to include in this category. On various occasions, Turkish government sources have indicated that islands such as Pserimos, Agathonisi, Fournoi and even Gavdos (situated south of Crete). Most of them, unlike Imia, had undeniably been in factual Greek possession, which had never previously been challenged by Turkey, and many are inhabited.

Russia is definitely 100 percent behind us, as is France, while Germany is seeing it as an "opportunity" to gain much-needed energy. The Americans, on the other, feel that they will be the biggest winners in the end.

Basically, the conditions have been set, and the Greek Armed Services still have a dynamic presence in the region, or they will for at least one more year.

It is now or never .

References
defencent - http://www.defencenet.gr/defence/item/
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_protected_area
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