Athens to Seek ICJ in Dispute with Turkey

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Greece, Turkey, Prime minister, Maritime, Disputes
Leader of New Democracy conservative party and winner of Greek general election Kyriakos Mitsotakis reacts during a swearing-in ceremony as prime minister at the presidential palace in Athens on July 8, 2019. - Greece's new prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, formally takes up the reins on July 8, a day after an election victory that puts him in charge of the EU's most indebted member with promises to end a decade of economic crisis. (Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Greece’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, said in remarks published on Sunday that if Athens and Ankara cannot solve their dispute about maritime zones in the Mediterranean they should turn to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to settle the disagreement.

Turkey signed an accord with Libya’s internationally-recognised government last month that seeks to create an exclusive economic zone from Turkey’s southern Mediterranean shore to Libya’s northeast coast.

Greece and Cyprus, which have long had maritime and territorial disputes with Turkey, say the accord is void and violates the international law of the sea. They see it as a resource-grab designed to scupper the development of East Mediterranean gas and destabilise rivals.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in an interview with weekly newspaper To Vima, said his intention is for Greece and Turkey to discuss their differences about maritime zones in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean on a political and diplomatic level.

“But we should say clearly that if we can’t find a solution then we should agree that the one difference that Greece recognises

[over maritime zones]

must be judged in an international body like the International Court of Justice in Hague.”

Earlier in December, Cyprus petitioned the ICJ to safeguard its offshore mineral rights. There has been no response so far from Turkey to that initiative.

Turkey maintains that several islands and islets near its coasts that are claimed by Greece under long-standing post-war treaties are actually “grey zones”.

“No one should try to blockade us, to trap us in our own coasts or trample on our economic rights,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week.

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