Main opposition leader and former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Thursday he told Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis that Greece should deter the Turkish seismic research vessel Oruc Reis “if it attempts to operate inside the country’s continental shelf.” He said further that her advised the PM to extend the Greek territorial waters South and East of Crete to 12 nautical miles.
He said further that he advised Mitsotakis to intensify talks with Egypt on the delimitation of an exclusive economic zone and, if this cannot be achieved, to extend Greece’s territorial waters south and east of Crete to 12 nautical miles.
Following the agreement delineating the EEZ with Italy, he said he advised the Prime Minister “to extend Greece’s territorial waters to 12 miles in the Ionian Sea and to intensify talks with Egypt to delineate the EEZ and – to the extent that this was not achieved – to proceed to extend Greece’s territorial waters south and east of Crete to 12 nautical miles.
The first time Tsipras government brought up the issue of territorial waters extension from 6 n.m. currently to 12 n.m. was in 2018.
Tsipras reiterated that “the only difference with Turkey is the continental shelf, which corresponds with the Exclusive Economic Zone, and there are no other differences.”
He dismissed all other Turkish claims saying: “The Lausanne Treaty is non-negotiable, there are no grey zones in the Aegean, the Turkish-Libyan pact is void and illegal.”
“We are obliged to resolve this difference through dialogue on the basis of international law but not under a regimen of threats and extortion,” Tsipras said.
Referring to recently escalating Turkish aggressiveness in the Mediterranean, Tsipras said that Greece needs a national strategy to counter this, which in turn demands political understanding.
“Mr. Mitsotakis briefed me today but he briefed me while the entire Turkish fleet is located south, southeast of Rhodes, Crete and Kastellorizo and when it has already given advance notification of the violation of our sovereign rights, namely seismic surveys within the Greek continental shelf. We hope that these threats are not carried out,” Tsipras added.
Regarding the role of the European Union, Tsipras said that Europe must assume its responsibilities: “To a great extent the differences are Euro-Turkish, the rights of Europe are being violated when the sovereign rights of Greece are violated. To the degree that over the next period there is an escalation and not a de-escalation. I asked Mitsotakis to demand an emergency summit in order to discuss sanctions against Turkey.”