Doğu Akdeniz, Avrupa Birliği, Kıbrıs, Deniz Yetki Alanlarının Sınırlandırılması, Münhasır Ekonomik Bölge, Kıta SahanlığıTülay Yıldırım Mat, Miray Azaklı Köse, Merve İspirli Armağan
The Eastern Mediterranean conflict has recently become one of the major issues regarding international relations of Turkey. Developments between Turkey-the Northern Republic of Cyprus bloc and Greece-the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus (TGASC) bloc, have become a significant subject both for the coastal states of the Eastern Mediterranean region and the member states of the European Union (EU). Focusing on the use of international agreements as the primary means of delimitating the maritime zones has brought about a fevered rush among Eastern Mediterranean coastal states seeking to conclude agreements as quickly as possible. The evidence after the conclusion of the agreements indicates that there may well be overlapping maritime zones in the region. Turkey has announced that the agreements concluded between TGASC under the name of the Republic of Cyprus and certain other states have been deemed invalid by Turkey. This article will analyze the primary legal and political reasons for this Eastern Mediterranean conflict as well as current political developments between Turkey and the EU on the subject. Moreover, the boundaries determined by the agreement on the delimitation of the maritime zones between Turkey and Libya concluded in 2019 are located in the exclusive economic zone claimed by Greece. The EU has announced strict economic and political sanctions against Turkey, siding with Greece. This EU attitude may affect the negotiations and outcome. Given that TGASC and Greece are parties to the dispute, the core of the problem is to what extent islands will affect the delimitation of the maritime zones. At this point, equitable principles should and are applicable also to the islands. Finally, the ultimate principles that will apply to the dispute in question are discussed in the final section of the article.
Türkiye ile Avrupa Birliği Arasında Doğu Akdeniz Meselesine İlişkin Güncel Siyasi Gelişmeler ve Meselenin Uluslararası Hukuk BoyutuTülay Yıldırım Mat, Miray Azaklı Köse, Merve İspirli Armağan
Doğu Akdeniz meselesi son dönemde Türkiye’nin uluslararası ilişkilerindeki en önemli sorunlardan biri haline gelmiştir. Doğu Akdeniz’de Türkiye ve Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti’ne karşı Yunanistan ve Güney Kıbrıs Rum Yönetimi bloğu arasında yaşanan gelişmeler, bölgede kıyısı bulunan diğer devletlerle birlikte Avrupa Birliği ülkeleri için de oldukça önemli bir hâle gelmiştir. Bu makalede Doğu Akdeniz meselesinin hukuki ve siyasi temel sebeplerine değinilmiş ve meseleye ilişkin Türkiye ile Avrupa Birliği arasındaki güncel siyasi gelişmeler irdelenmiştir. Deniz yetki alanlarının esas olarak devletler arasında akdedilecek anlaşmalar ile belirlenmesi prensibi, Doğu Akdeniz’e kıyısı olan devletleri bir antlaşma akdetme yarışına sokmuştur. Ancak bu antlaşmalar neticesinde ortaya çıkan tablo, Doğu Akdeniz’de birbiri ile çakışan deniz yetki alanlarının oluştuğunu göstermektedir. Türkiye, Güney Kıbrıs Rum Yönetimi’nin Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti sıfatıyla diğer devletlerle yaptığı anlaşmaları hükümsüz kabul ettiğini ifade etmektedir. Türkiye’nin 2019’da Libya ile akdetmiş olduğu deniz yetki alanlarının sınırlandırılmasına ilişkin antlaşma ile belirlenen sınır ise Yunanistan’ın iddia ettiği münhasır ekonomik bölgede yer almaktadır. Diğer yandan Doğu Akdeniz konusunda Yunanistan’dan taraf olan Avrupa Birliği, Türkiye’ye karşı sert yaptırımların uygulanmasını dile getirmektedir. Avrupa Birliği’nin bu tavrı müzakerelerin yürütülmesini ve elde edilecek sonucun içeriğini etkileyebilecek niteliktedir. Belirtmek gerekir ki, hem Güney Kıbrıs Rum Yönetimi hem de Yunanistan’ın tarafı olduğu bu uyuşmazlıkta problemin özünü deniz yetki alanlarının sınırlandırılmasında adalara nasıl bir etki tanınacağı sorusu oluşturmaktadır. Bu noktada adaların da deniz yetki alanlarının sınırlandırılmasında hakça ilkelere tâbi olduğu açıktır. Bu nedenle makalenin son kısmında söz konusu somut uyuşmazlık özelinde hangi ilkelerin gündeme gelebileceği incelenmiştir.
Disputes regarding the delimitation of maritime zones in the Eastern Mediterranean have a long history because they do not refer to a purely legal problem. First, the status of the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus and its presentation and acceptance as the sole representative of the island in the international domain has been subject to objections from Turkey for many years. Because the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and its maritime borders have not been respected and recognized by, such as Greece and the European Union, a purely legal solution to the problem has not been easily discernible. Therefore, the delimitation of maritime zones between Turkey and Cyprus has continued to be a multifaced problem with both political and legal dimensions. Furthermore, as of 2003, while the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus rapidly began to conclude bilateral agreements on the delimitation of maritime zones with certain coastal Mediterranean states, Turkey had concluded an agreement with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in 2011 and an agreement with Libya in 2019. In the meantime, both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus granted exploration and exploitation licenses to certain companies. Drilling activities by Turkey’s TPAO’s based on these licenses in Northern Cyprus have drawn adverse reactions from Greece and the European Union particularly and raised the tension between these various parties.
According to international law, the delimitation of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf is solely a matter between the coastal states. However, the European Union has nonetheless become a party to the dispute. Because Greece and Southern Cyprus have become members of the European Union from in 1981 and 2004, respectively, the Aegean Sea and Cyprus have become a part of the borders of the Union. The candidate status of Turkey for the membership in the Union has been recognized from 1999. Because candidate states must comply with the principle of the peaceful settlement of border disputes or give consent to the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the same, the European Union has taken part in this ongoing Eastern Mediterranean conflict. Therefore, following the analysis of the reasons for the conflict between Turkey, Greece, and Southern Cyprus, the effects of that dispute on the relationship between Turkey and the European Union will be briefly discussed in this article.
It is well-known that Turkey and Greece have a long-standing history of problems regarding the delimitation of maritime zones in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. The three primary elements of the Turkish–Greek maritime disputes can be summarized as follows: 1) Disagreement on the breadth of Greek territorial waters and the ownership of certain islands or isles in the Aegean Sea; 2) the extent of the two states’ exclusive economic zones and continental shelves in the eastern Mediterranean; and 3) the continuing Cyprus crisis discussed earlier.
The international law concepts of exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf grants certain privileges concerning the exploration and exploitation of energy resources to coastal states. Therefore, the delimitation of these maritime zones represents a significant national economic interest on the part of these states. At the same time, it is considered a matter of sovereignty and national independence by those same states. International law rules regarding delimitation are far from clear and concrete. They are based on the principle of equitable solution and the negotiation and conclusion of international agreements. Greece claims a full exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles to its easternmost islands in Eastern Mediterranean; Southern Cyprus similarly claims an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles despite being very close to the southern coast of Turkey. In summary, the extent of maritime zones of the islands has become the most critical element of the dispute. The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in Article 121 states the following: “«the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf of an island are determined in accordance with the provisions of this Convention applicable to other land territory.” Accordingly, islands are subject to the principle of the equitable solution without any question.
The concept of equity has been analyzed and explained by the ICJ case law and has not, overall, consisted of numerus clausus criteria. However, constructing a provisional equidistance line seems the first step, and adjusting this line according to relevant circumstances should then form the second step. Finally, according to the case-law of the ICJ, validating that the line thus adjusted would not lead to an inequitable result by comparing the ratio of coastal lengths with the ratio of relevant maritime areas is necessary. In the case of Serpents’ Island, the island’s location in the area of delimitation has been considered by the ICJ. The court decided that it should not affect the delimitation other than that stemming from the role of the 12-nautical-mile arc of the island’s own territorial sea. As with Serpents’ Island, certain easternmost Greek islands, such as Crete and Rhodes, lying alone and far from the mainland, are not one of a cluster of fringe islands constituting “the coast” of Greece. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to consider those islands to construct a provisional equidistance line between the coasts of Turkey and Greece.