Greece must consider turning to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague to seek recourse against Turkey as the resolution of the issues between the Ankara and Greece at a bilateral level seems almost impossible, wrote Christos Rozakis, emeritus professor of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Turkey’s hardening stance toward Greece, along with the Ankara-Tripoli maritime borders deal, seeking to prevent larger Greek islands from claiming a continental shelf and an exclusive economic zone (EEZ), has left the Greek diplomatic establishment with few options, Rozakis said in an article published in Kathimerini.
Relations between Turkey and Greece have been tense since Turkey stepped up efforts to exploit the hydrocarbon reserves in the eastern Mediterranean by sending two drillships to the waters off Cyprus. Ankara says the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north part of the island, which is only recognised by Turkey, should have a fair share in the natural resources of Cyprus.
Greece also maintains strong objections to a maritime agreement signed between Ankara and the U.N.-recognised Libyan government in Tripoli in November, which makes Turkey and Libya maritime neighbours and ignores some Greek territorial areas, including Crete.
“While Greece is willing to settle for an arbitration agreement to bring one dispute (over the continental shelf/EEZ) before the international court,’’ the article said, Turkey has called for a comprehensive resolution of Greek-Turkish differences as a pre-condition to such an agreement.
Athens must achieve an arbitration agreement that will take only the dispute concerning the continental shelf and EEZ to The Hague, according to Rozakis.
An alternative solution to the deadlock of negotiations on an arbitration agreement would be for Greece to sign its own deal with Libya, he said.
But such a move would hinder any progress on differences between the two sides and push the issue far into the future, Rozakis added.