By Dr. Theodore Kariotis
The ghost of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) continues to persecute Turkey. It is well known to everyone that Turkey regards the concept of EEZ as its most important enemy in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
Ankara sees a great opportunity to be created in the EEZ of Cyprus now and it is ready to make the game more difficult. Thus, with threats and extortions, it claims the Lot 3 of the Cypriot EEZ and has immobilized the Saipen 12000 drilling rig of the Italian-Italian consortium ENI / TOTAL 15 nm. preventing it from reaching its destination.As it disregards the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Ankara has nothing to do with the south side of the Republic of Cyprus.
Turkey claims to have a maritime border with Egypt, and the only way to claim it, is to insist that Greece has no maritime border with Cyprus. But Plot 4 of the Cypriot EEZ clearly shows that Cyprus has a maritime border with Greece and therefore Turkey does not have a maritime border with Egypt.
It is worth recalling that only Tassos Papadopoulos has raised his stature by stating in essence “we are talking about EEZ and nothing else” without Erdogan realizing the importance of the brilliant move of Cyprus in 2004, so it is now too late for him. It is also of great value that all the countries of the world, apart from Turkey, including the USA, Russia and China, have recognized the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus. To date, 138 countries have declared 200 n.m. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or have created an Exclusive Fisheries Zone (EFZ) of 200 n.m. Only two countries in the world violate the EEZ of other states, China and Turkey!Cyprus faces a very big problem, because when a state delimits its EEZ, it must also anticipate the side effects that can be caused, and be ready to defend it by all legal means.
The Cypriot government, on the other hand, recently announced that it is preparing to unilaterally delimitate its EEZ with its northern neighbors, which are none other than Turkey and Greece. Cyprus, indeed, advertised that it would send the geographical coordinates to the UN headquarters in New York but they never reached their destination.
Since Cyprus had such a scenario, it should have secured allies in order to defend it. Greece, living these days in a strongly charged climate for the Macedonian and Novartis issues, is unable to be effectively assisted the Republic of Cyprus.The Greek government must demand from the United States to cut Erdogan’s “war dance” in the Mediterranean. Solve your problems was the message issued by the State Department after the unacceptable aggressive movement of the Turks against a Greek ship in the Aegean Sea.
However, they did not make any statements on the violation of Turkey in the Cypriot EEZ. Israel and the European Union are, at the moment, the other two alternatives of supporting Cyprus. It is well known that Israel has been protecting the airspace of Cyprus for a long time and could be asked to carry out naval patrols in the EEZ of Cyprus even though it has not yet developed a serious naval force in the region to support its own EEZ.
For its part, the European Union not only signed the 1982 UNCLOS but also ratified it on 1 January 1998, which strengthened its competence in all areas where Part V of the Convention provides rights and obligations to coastal States. So, today, the Cypriot EEZ is also an EU EEZ. It is therefore an obligation for the EU to defend its EEZ today, because a challenge to the EEZ of the island is also a challenge to the European Union’s EEZ.
The EU has already warned Turkey on February 12th by European Council President Donald Tusk to “avoid threats or actions against any EU member and to commit to good neighborly relations, peaceful settlement of disputes and respect of territorial sovereignty “.But now Cyprus is entitled to call the UN Security Council to intervene for the flagrant violation of the Law of the Sea Convention and international security and peace. In my opinion, such a preventive move is imperative in today’s circumstances, since Erdogan has decided that he wants a simultaneous crisis not only in the EEZ of Cyprus but also with Greece in the Aegean Archipelagos.