Turkey claims Greek waters off Rhodes

Turkey has set its sights on Greece’s sovereign waters off the west coast of the major island of Rhodes, sending a letter to the United Nations claiming part of the Aegean sea there, the National Herald said on Thursday. 

A communication of Turkey’s permanent representative presented Ankara’s idea of a ‘Blue Homeland’ according to which Ankara has the right to have maritime zones and a continental shelf west of the 28th meridian (located south of Rhodes,) ignoring the Dodecanese island chain in the southeast Aegean and Crete. That essentially means that Turkey wants to delimit its maritime zones with Libya.

The letter of Feridun Sinirlioğlu disputes the status of the Greek islands on the one hand, while on the other ignores the rights of Cyprus, an EU member country, the National Herald said. 

Turkey has refused to acknowledge Cyprus as a legitimate state since the Turkish invasion and division of the island into Greek and Turkish Cypriot parts in the mid-1970s. Turkey, the only country that recognises the breakaway state in the north of the island, maintains that Turkish Cypriots should receive their fair share from the potentially rich hydrocarbon resources near the island.

Turkey has also territorial claims that overlap with Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and Ankara has stepped up its efforts for gas drilling this year with two drilling vessels anchored in the east Mediterranean.