Greece: No change in territorial waters policy Greece: No change in territorial waters policy

Published 29.10.2010 10:02

A Greek official has made it clear that the country's policy of legally extending its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea to 12 nautical miles is a sovereignty right, and it will not give up this right.

"There is no secret diplomacy between the two countries," Greek government spokesperson George Petalotis was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency at a press conference on Wednesday in response to a question concerning recent news reports suggesting that Ankara and Athens have reached an agreement in principle over how to resolve the Aegean dispute.

"Scenarios discussed by Turkey's cabinet are not our concern. What concerns us is the permanent thesis of the Greek government on this issue. Of course, there is no secret diplomacy. And of course, we will not take even one step back concerning our sovereignty rights," Petalotis said.

The related news reports were referring to a recent bilateral meeting between Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which took place in Athens on the sidelines of a climate conference. There was no reference to the Aegean disputes in statements of Erdoğan and Papandreou following their talks, while reports indicated that the two had reached a secret consensus on the issue.

"Greece has announced this principle many times. There is no change," he said, when he was insistently asked whether Greece's policy of extending its territorial waters was intact.

Turkey and Greece are at odds over boundaries of their territorial waters and airspace in the Aegean due to the peculiar geography of the Aegean Sea, where some Greek islands are lined up along Turkey's western coasts. In 1995, the Turkish Parliament declared any unilateral attempt by Greece to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles from the current six miles as a casus belli, or reason to declare war.

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