Turkish-Greek relations after the Cavusoglu-Dendias assembly


The creator is an alumnus of Trinity Faculty Dublin, specializing in Grasp of Legal guidelines (LL.M.) in worldwide and comparative regulation. Its fundamental areas of intervention are Turkey-EU relations, the Japanese Mediterranean and modern debates on Turkish international coverage. He’s notably fascinated by public worldwide regulation, EU regulation and legal-political developments on the finish of the Ottoman period.


Relations between Turkey and the European Union (EU) skilled many crucial moments in April 2021. After the declaration of the conclusions of the European Council on 25 and 26 March, the working go to carried out by the presidents of the European Council and of the European Fee on April 6 confirmed the events’ dedication to dialogue. Though the go to was overshadowed by an intra-EU political disaster, it confirmed that the Turkey-EU dialogue is crucial for resolving regional and international disputes, resembling irregular migration. However, as soon as once more it has develop into evident that the Turkey-EU engagement is barely practical with the intention to resolve Turkey’s bilateral disagreements with Greece. In reality, as soon as these bilateral disputes are resolved, it is very important stress that the person states, Turkey and Greece, and never the Union, have absolute and irrevocable jurisdiction. The delimitation of areas of maritime jurisdiction, the demilitarization of the japanese Aegean islands and the administration of hydrocarbon assets within the japanese Mediterranean are a few of these disputes which might solely be mentioned and examined on the bilateral stage.

Turkey, on this spirit, hooked up the utmost significance to the go to of Greek Overseas Minister Nikos Dendias to Ankara, with the intention to protect the momentum gained after the relaunch of the “Turkey-Greece consultative talks”. Nonetheless, the Cavusoglu-Dendias press convention on April 15 was a surprisingly unstable and unproductive press convention because of the uncompromising rhetoric of the Greek Overseas Minister, which had been used for inside political consumption within the inside the Greek group. In reality, the Greek aspect is absolutely conscious that exploiting the worldwide persona of the EU to impose Greece’s unlucky maximalist calls for on Turkey would jeopardize Turkish-Greek relations in addition to the progress made in Turkey-EU relations. . Nevertheless, irrespective of how the Greek Grand Technique is revised within the coming years, it’s a political and diplomatic actuality that the seek for options at EU stage or the seek for options by manipulating the credibility of the EU would by no means deter Turkey from defending its nationwide pursuits. To this finish, Turkey is of the opinion that “the logic of a everlasting neighborhood naturally implies mutual respect for the rights of every”. and a everlasting answer couldn’t be discovered by introducing preconditions since “the preconditions generate counter-conditions”. [1]

The EU’s dilemma in Turkey-Greece relations

Apart from Minister Dendias’ uncompromising remarks relating to Turkey’s presence within the area, probably the most salient facet of his statements was its uneven give attention to the EU and its inclusion in bilateral Turkish-Greek disputes.

Generally, EU regulation relies on the basic precept of ‘switch of energy’. For member states, a gradual switch of energy has been made potential by sacrificing a number of sovereign rights. That is why there are particular areas during which the EU has unique inside and exterior competences. For instance, the Union is solely empowered to ascertain rules and formulate insurance policies within the areas of widespread business coverage and customs union. Nevertheless, underneath EU regulation, the EU doesn’t have jurisdiction over issues associated to sea areas. Member States, together with Greece, have unique competence to find out maritime areas. Neither the European Fee nor the European Council has the correct to outline the maritime insurance policies of Greece, Turkey or some other third nation. For instance, Sinan Ulgen, the chairman of the Istanbul-based EDAM suppose tank, illustrates the maritime delimitation settlement between Greece and Italy as a manifestation of the competences of EU member states in issues of maritime areas.[2] Lastly, regarding the disputes within the Aegean Sea and within the Japanese Mediterranean, the EU is just not the interlocutor of Turkey and Greece. Subsequently, Dendias’ latest statements are primarily based solely on political grounds for manipulating the EU’s worldwide persona and are legally unfounded. With a view to preserve its political and diplomatic credibility, the EU ought to undertake a impartial method.

Demilitarization of the islands

One other putting subject that was revisited through the Cavusoglu-Dendias press convention is the demilitarized standing of the islands within the Japanese Aegean Sea. Whereas Dendias outlined Turkish army forces on Greece’s reverse coast as a “risk”, he argued that the islands had been militarized for a “motive”. [3] In reality, the demilitarization of the japanese Aegean islands has been a purpose that has been aimed to be maintained for years.

There are a lot of worldwide agreements regarding the demilitarization of the islands of the Japanese Aegean Sea, which impose authorized obligations on Greece, such because the London Settlement (1913), the Lausanne Peace Treaty (1923) and the Peace Treaty. of Paris (1947). These worldwide agreements are nonetheless in power and binding and, above all, their widespread goal is to protect the interior and exterior safety of the nations of the area. For instance, Turkish jurist and member of parliament Professor Huseyin Pazarci reminds us of the official reviews of the Paris Peace Convention, during which the safety of Turkey’s safety was declared as the principle motivation behind the joint determination. to demilitarize the islands of the Japanese Aegean Sea.

However, from a authorized perspective, the Treaty of Peace of Paris is a “treaty of standing” and, consequently, it introduces an “goal regime”, which produces legally results with regard to the Signatory / non-signatory states and contains “erga omnes” (“in direction of all”) obligations for non-signatory states. On this instance, whatever the accession of Turkey, Greece or a 3rd state to the treaty, compliance with the demilitarization clauses of the Paris Peace Treaty is a world obligation for all nations.

Greece’s unlucky counter-arguments

Apparently, the Greek aspect has lengthy claimed that the demilitarization clauses of those agreements have been legally “denounced” / “terminated” on the premise of the common authorized precept “Rebuc Sic Stantibus” (“issues are thus standing” ). Legally, if there was a elementary change in circumstances, a celebration can terminate a treaty / provision of a treaty by invoking “Rebuc Sic Stantibus”. Nevertheless, whereas invoking this exception, a celebration can not unilaterally cancel a treaty underneath any pretext, there should be a standard understanding. Concerning the most recent disagreement between Turkey and Greece on the demilitarized standing of the islands, it’s clear that Greece might neither get rid of the target regime supplied for by worldwide treaties nor put an finish to those treaties on the premise of the “Rebuc Sic Stantibus” . On this vein, Pazarci believes that the Greek claims targeted on a “elementary change of circumstances” are with out advantage, since Turkey and its area nonetheless want demilitarization of the islands / islets to protect the interior and exterior safety of Turkey.

In gentle of those factors, it is sensible to state that Turkey has the correct to demand from Greece and / or some other third nation respect for the demilitarized standing of the East Aegean Islands. Likewise, Turkey has the correct to name on the EU to say that the Union has no sovereign rights / competences over areas of maritime jurisdiction of particular person states and makes an attempt to make Greek / Greek Cypriot claims just like the EU claims would solely create a biased EU place. Because the Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recalled, being the 2 states bordering and everlasting neighbors of the Aegean Sea, solely Turkey and Greece, firmly dedicated to dialogue and mutual respect, can resolve these interdependent disputes by Aegean Sea and the Japanese Mediterranean.

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