Greece and Turkey before the tribunal of global public opinion

Posted by Antonis D. Papagiannidis 09/12/2019 0 Comment(s) Economia Blog,

The delimitation of Exclusive Economic Zones/EEZ or of continental shelves between adjoining countries, or even the definition of their territorial waters (from which onwards the EEZ or/and continental shelf starts being defined) is a matter of quite complicated technical nature. The same goes for acceptance of UNCLOS /the Montego Bay 1982 system for the Law of the Sea (Convention or Agreement, signature, ratification, accession...), where non-participants still are the US, Turkey but also Syria or Israel - but Israel has entered into a delimitation agreement with Cyprus ... Not to leave aside the legal argument that Montego Bay has just enshrined pre-existent, enforceable (whatever the term may mean in International Law) customary law. Last but not least, extreme technicality reigns in the way matters can be brought before the International Court of Justice/ICJ of the Hague, the Hague Permanent Court of Arbitration/PCA, the Hamburg International Tribunal for the Law of the SEA/ITLOS: as a rule of thumb, their  jurisdiction has to be accepted by parties to a dispute (as is not the case for Turkey) and/or an agreement to be entered into; plus, no exception clause has to be in force (as is the case for Greece and territorial matters under ITLOS).


All this thicket of technicalities will accompany the Greek-Turkish range of disputes that has currently flared up with Turkey’s MOU with Libya - not exactly an adjoining country - to attempt a delimitation of their respective EEZ. But in fact, this matter - as well as the maps drown to depict and illustrate respective positions and claims - are already standing before the tribunal of international public opinion; a peculiarly slippery sort of tribunal and argument forum. It is before this forum that such an extremely touchy issue will be adjudicated - and both parties have fully realized that fact.


Meanwhile early next week - Monday December 16, at 18.00 hours in Great Bretagne Hotel - two grandees of Greek political life - Dora Bakoyiannis and Vangelis Venizelos both ex FMs - along with two veterans of Greek diplomacy - Pavlos Apostolidis and George Savvaidis - with hold a full dress debate on the legal and political sides of the issue. To follow


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