Athens, Jan. 19, 2021 – The Greek parliament on Tuesday debated on an expansion of territorial waters in the Ionian Sea.
It is a decision that could lead to further tensions with Turkey in a dispute on gas drilling in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Greek government had proposed extending the limit of its territory in the west of the country from six to 12 nautical miles.
This would increase Greece’s sovereign territory by 13,000 square kilometres or around 10 per cent, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias told lawmakers at the beginning of the debate on Tuesday.
Dendias emphasized that the proposal also allowed the government to extend its sovereign territory in other maritime areas.
Parliament is due to vote on the proposal on Wednesday.
Although the proposal would be in accordance with the 1994 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, it could pave the way for further territorial extensions in the Aegean Sea that could heighten already fraught relations with Turkey.
The Turkish parliament said in 1995 it would interpret such an extension as a reason for declaring war.
Ankara and Athens have long been at loggerheads over natural gas reserves and maritime boundaries, with both claiming the right to prospect and drill for energy resources in the same part of the eastern Mediterranean.
Neighbours and NATO members Turkey and Greece are to meet on Jan. 25, for the first time since 2016, to resolve some of their differences. (dpa/NAN)