Factbox: Greece’s territorial waters and Turkey


A Greek view on  the territorial waters dispute in the Aegean Sea.  Mostly impartial.


Why is Turkey taking issue with Greece’s maritime border expansion?

A decision to extend Greek territorial waters to 12 miles would have a catalytic effect on most of Turkey’s Aegean claims:

– The area of the Aegean continental shelf that would remain to be claimed by Greece and Turkey would be limited to 5 percent of the Aegean. That would make the dispute irrelevant.

– It would end the inconsistency between Greece’s 6-mile belt of territorial sea and a 10-mile column of airspace. The percentage of Aegean waters under Greek jurisdiction lying within the boundaries of the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR) and of the search and rescue (SAR) area in the Aegean would rise from 43 percent today to 72 percent. Turkish efforts to shift the boundaries would be deprived of any legitimacy.

– Ankara’s claims of so-called “gray zones” in the Aegean were raised in a bid to add a legal definition of the continental shelf to its existing dispute of Greek sovereignty over certain Aegean islands. If Greek maritime borders were to be expanded, Turkey’s claims would only have a symbolic character.