BREAKING NEWS – Turkey war ships near Paphos, Russian sub on the way

Cyprus is experiencing some of the most horrific moments in its modern history since its northern section was invaded by Turkey in 1974. The latest word in the Eastern Mediterranean is not that good. Turkey has stepped up on its threats and has sent even more warships within a breath’s view of Paphos.

A report on proinikordela said that Russian support is on the way. Luckily a Russian submarine armed with missiles has been dispatched to the area from Moscow. In a similar story several days ago on defencenet it was noted that Russia was going to send a conventional submarine, but it has yet to be confirmed whether or not they sent a conventional or nuclear type.

Meanwhile, Ankara triggered by the discovery of oil deposits near Prinos Thassos, has now set its sights on the Northern Aegean and is turning up the tension even more by raising the issue over territorial claims in Greece’s EEZ.  An article on defencenet confirmed this claiming that Ankara has hired a new research vessel (Italian flag on a ship called URANIA) to scan the northern Aegean, in the Gulf of Saros or Xirou, on the outskirts of Thrace.

Tensions over the continental shelf were particularly high during the mid-1970s and again the late 1980s, when Turkey conducted exploratory oceanographic research missions in parts of this specific area. These were perceived as a dangerous provocation by Greece, which led to a build up of mutual military threats in 1976 and again in 1987

It must be reiterated that the islets of Zourafa and Laksodera which have over the past 130 years been exuming oil are located only 5.82 nautical miles from Samothraki and approximately 14 miles from the Turkish coast. They are two of the 130 islets that Turkey now disputes that belong to Greece. Other Turkish claims, or “grey zones”. of undetermined sovereignty over a number of small islets, most notably the islets of Imia.

The dispute between Turkey and Greece is to what degree the Greek islands off the Turkish coast should be taken into account for determining the Greek and Turkish economic zones. Turkey argues that the notion of “continental shelf”, by its very definition, implies that distances should be measured from the continental mainland, claiming that the sea-bed of the Aegean geographically forms a natural prolongation of the Anatolian land mass. This would mean for Turkey to be entitled to economic zones up to the median line of the Aegean (leaving out, of course, the territorial waters around the Greek islands in its eastern half, which would remain as Greek exclaves.) Greece, on the other hand, claims that all islands must be taken into account on an equal basis. This would mean that Greece would gain the economic rights to almost the whole of the Aegean.

In this matter, Greece has the UN Law of the Sea on its side, although the Convention restricts the application of this rule to islands of a notable size, as opposed to small uninhabitable islets and rocks. The precise delimitation of the economic zones is the only one of all the Aegean issues where Greece has officially acknowledged that Turkey has legitimate interests that might require some international process of arbitration or compromise between the two sides.

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