October 20, 2020
KCNA Pyongyang Times

Territorial dispute escalates between Greece and Turkey

Date: 27/09/2020 | Source: Pyongyang Times | Read original version at source

The Greece-Turkey conflict is flaring up over the ownership of an island in the eastern Mediterranean.

Both the NATO member nations have long been at odds over the dominium over the 450 km2 island which is known as Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish.

The island is located about 20km away from Kalimnos Island of Greece and approximately 7km away from the Turkish coast.

In 1996, the bilateral antagonism over the possession of the island drove the two countries to the brink of war for a while.

In recent years serious dissension arose between them over energy development in the disputed waters.

The bilateral friction got worse after Greece and Egypt concluded an agreement on maritime border and announced they would fix the exclusive economic water zone early in August this year.

Turkey strongly reacted to the conclusion of the deal as it asserted that the controversial area is located inside its continental shelf.

Afterwards, it resumed the exploration for natural gas in the disputed waters, evoking the discontent of Greece.

Under such circumstances, the Greek parliament approved the agreement on maritime border signed with Egypt. With this as a momentum, the bilateral disagreement led to an aspect of military confrontation.

The Turkish President said his country would safeguard its interests in the Mediterranean and other regions, stating that it would use every possible means.

Turkey staged joint maritime military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean in late August and announced a plan for a maritime live-fire drill early in September.

On the other hand, Greece conducted a three-day joint military exercise together with Cyprus, France and Italy in the same area.

The NATO secretary-general expressed apprehension over the deployment of such huge armed forces in such a limited area as the eastern Mediterranean.

The Greek mass media described the current Greece-Turkey dispute as the most serious conflict since 1996 and other foreign media commented that the friction over oil and natural gas development in the controversial waters is rapidly developing into military hostility.

Analysts see the long-standing bilateral feud will be unable to be settled easily. Moreover, since huge quantities of natural gas were discovered in the disputed waters in recent years, Turkey’s regional rivals including Cyprus, Greece, Israel and Egypt have jointly got involved in the scramble for natural resources.

Pundits assert that it is unrealistic at present to expect full-scale dialogue between the two countries about the eastern Mediterranean.

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