Why Turkey, Greece remain on collision course over Aegean islands | Conflict

The Jap Mediterranean and the islands of the Aegean, the place Greek and Turkish claims overlap, are as soon as once more within the focus amid the newest dispute between Greece and Turkey.

The complexity of the difficulty beneath worldwide regulation is now additional exacerbated by an absence of diplomacy.

The 2 NATO allies are nonetheless in a dispute over islands within the Aegean Sea. Specifically, Turkey rejects what it calls a “militarisation” of some islands by Greece.

Hasan Gogus, former Turkish ambassador to Greece and Austria, instructed Al Jazeera that Turkey’s stance is legitimate.

“We’ve a number of disputes with Greece within the Aegean Sea, such because the width of territorial waters, delimitation of the continental shelf, demilitarisation of islands or size of airspace. Whereas all points are interrelated, Greece solely acknowledges the existence of the continental shelf dispute,” he mentioned.

“Many of the Greek islands within the Aegean Sea are in shut proximity to the Turkish mainland, comparable to Kastellorizo or Kos. These islands got to Greece [under the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty] on the situation of demilitarisation. Nevertheless, Greece violates this provision,” mentioned Gogus.

In the meantime, from a Greek viewpoint, Turkey is making claims which are supported neither by the established order nor by worldwide regulation.

“Greece considers the Aegean Sea a basic a part of the Greek territory given the 1000’s of islands and Greeks dwelling there,” Sotirios Zartaloudis, affiliate professor in comparative European politics on the College of Birmingham instructed Al Jazeera.

“Furthermore, the Aegean Sea is for Greece of nice geopolitical and strategic significance as Europe’s southeastern frontier to the east and the Center East together with the Black Sea,” he mentioned.

map of greece and turkey

The authorized bases are discovered within the treaties of Lausanne (1923), Montreux (1936) and Paris (1947), whereby the treaties signed in Lausanne and Paris regulate which island belongs to which nation.

Nevertheless, the treaty of Montreux was supposed to interchange the treaty of Lausanne partially, and Turkey has basically been deriving its claims from the latter.

Ankara’s interpretation therefore creates a posh state of affairs regarding sovereign rights within the East Aegean, Dimitris Papadimitriou, professor of politics on the College of Manchester, instructed Al Jazeera.

“The standing of the Aegean islands relating to their ‘demilitarisation’ is a posh authorized problem, and the 2 sides have very totally different interpretations relating to the obligations that emanate from these treaties. Given the present local weather of distrust, it’s tough to think about how a bilateral negotiation with a view to discover a widespread language might succeed,” he mentioned.

Brink of armed battle

Two years in the past, the edges got here to the brink of navy battle as tensions rose over vitality assets within the jap Meditarennean. Since then, even diplomatic rapprochement appeared conceivable.

Nevertheless, Ankara’s rhetoric modified drastically after Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the USA final month and known as on Washington to rethink arms gross sales to Turkey.

An affront, in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s view. The Turkish chief introduced he wouldn’t meet once more the Greek facet till an “trustworthy politician” was in entrance of him.

Since then, the dispute has spiralled, together with a large-scale Turkish navy manoeuvre, which Erdogan attended. In truth, his look made international headlines when he not directly threatened battle.

Not solely did Erdogan warn Greece of “catastrophic penalties”, however urged his neighbour to “keep away from desires, statements and actions that it could remorse”.

“I’m not joking,” Erdogan mentioned.

Regardless of the rhetoric from Ankara, Greece, to date, has not but ceased diplomatic efforts.

“Though the final media discourse in Greece stays very hostile in direction of Turkey, the response by the Greek authorities was comparatively muted,” Papadimitriou mentioned.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu
Greek International Minister Nikos Dendias and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu at a information convention in Athens [File: Costas Baltas/Reuters]

Greek International Minister Nikos Dendias emphasised in the course of the summit of Southeast European nations final week that Greece wouldn’t contribute to the escalation by collaborating in “insulting statements, unlawful and inappropriate calls for and accusations”.

On the identical time, the Greek international ministry revealed 16 maps supposed to doc “the extent of Turkish revisionism”, supposed to show Turkish territorial claims from 1923 to the current day.

“Greek authorities officers proceed to accuse Turkey that it suffers ‘delusions of imperialist grandeur’,” Papadimitriou mentioned.

“Mitsotakis, when requested if he would meet once more with President Erdogan, replied: ‘in fact, I might.’ This exhibits that the Greek authorities doesn’t wish to minimize off all channels of communication with Turkey though, by way of coverage substance, the chasm between the 2 nations stays huge,” he mentioned.

Nevertheless, given Erdogan’s rhetoric, Athens might be even much less inclined to demilitarise the islands.

“Greece argues that any navy presence/gear on the islands is there for coaching causes and deterrence/defence. Greece additionally argues that any navy presence on the Greek islands is just not aimed in direction of/towards Turkey until Turkey assaults Greece,” Zartaloudis mentioned.

Greece considers that navy presence its proper to self-defence, alluding to the quite a few touchdown craft on the west coast of Turkey and common violations of Greek airspace by Turkish fighter jets.

“The Greek governments declare they fear about Turkey’s heavy navy presence close to the Greek border and the Greek islands within the Aegean Sea, which Greece argues is a standby expeditionary pressure. A compromise might be a mutually agreed de-escalation – unlikely for my part,” Zartaloudis mentioned.

The EU and NATO

Given this obvious conundrum, the EU known as upon Turkey to behave “constructively”.

“Escalating steps and rhetoric” have to be prevented and changed with “good neighbourly relations”, Brussels urged.

NATO Secretary-Normal Jens Stoltenberg inspired Greece and Turkey to settle their variations and keep away from any motion or rhetoric that might escalate the state of affairs.

Nonetheless, the present state of affairs raises numerous questions in Greece and, as so usually in these circumstances, the long run is sophisticated to foretell.

“Public opinion in Greece is effectively versed within the hostile rhetoric from either side of the Aegean. Nevertheless, most people doesn’t realise how shortly an ‘accident’ within the Aegean can escalate into full-scale battle,” Papadimitriou mentioned.

“Many individuals speculated that the battle in Ukraine would solely final just a few days. We at the moment are into the fourth month of battle with no indicators of the battle ending quickly. An analogous state of affairs for Greece and Turkey is just not science fiction. That’s the reason it will be significant that the rhetoric clams down and that channels of communication between the 2 sides stay open,” he added.

Most hope that Erdogan’s battle rhetoric is merely a part of his marketing campaign technique. With a presidential election looming, and a painful financial state of affairs in Turkey – inflation is at the moment at 70 % – some analysts are constructive that the home state of affairs in Turkey may have an effect on how the battle proceeds.

“The potential of a Greek-Turkish battle additionally arises from inner dynamics in Turkey, if, for example, the Greek-Turkish relations develop into salient amongst Turkish voters. Forces in favour or towards Erdogan could wish to use battle to spice up or dent his recognition.

“Nevertheless, the hope is that NATO, the US, the navy deterrence from either side together with Erdogan’s rationalism about his personal political survival will stop an open battle,” Zartaloudis mentioned.

Wimbledon’s Russia, Belarus ban on collision course with ATP, WTA | Tennis News

Wimbledon stripped of rating factors by sport’s most important excursions in a transfer that threatens to scale back Grand Slam to exhibition standing.

The world’s most prestigious tennis event is on a collision course with the game’s world governing our bodies after Wimbledon had its rating factors stripped by the ATP and WTA excursions over excluding gamers from Russia and Belarus.

In keeping with the Worldwide Tennis Federation (ITF), the ladies’s and males’s skilled tennis excursions won’t award rating factors for Wimbledon this 12 months due to the All England Membership’s ban on gamers from Russia and Belarus over the invasion of Ukraine, an unprecedented transfer that stands as a big rebuke of the game’s oldest Grand Slam event.

The WTA and ATP introduced their choices on Friday evening, two days earlier than the beginning of the French Open – and a bit of greater than a month earlier than play begins at Wimbledon on June 27.

The All England Membership (AELTC) mentioned in April it will not permit Russians or Belarusians to compete, which drew speedy criticism from the WTA and the ATP, together with some outstanding gamers, corresponding to defending champion Novak Djokovic. It should bear watching how this entire episode impacts the relationships among the many numerous entities which have a say in the best way tennis is run.

“The power for gamers of any nationality to enter tournaments primarily based on advantage, and with out discrimination, is prime to our tour,” the ATP mentioned in an announcement. “The choice by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian gamers from competing within the UK this summer season undermines this precept and the integrity of the ATP rating system.”

Saying it made this transfer “with nice remorse and reluctance,” the ATP added: “Our guidelines and agreements exist so as to defend the rights of gamers as an entire. Unilateral choices of this nature, if unaddressed, set a dangerous precedent for the remainder of the tour. Discrimination by particular person tournaments is solely not viable on a tour that operates in additional than 30 international locations.”

The AELTC on Friday mentioned it was contemplating its choices and was in discussions with its Grand Slam colleagues.

“We stay unwilling to simply accept success or participation at Wimbledon getting used to profit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime,” the AELTC mentioned in an announcement.

“We due to this fact want to state our deep disappointment on the choices taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF in eradicating rating factors for The Championships.

“We consider these choices to be disproportionate within the context of the distinctive and excessive circumstances of this case and the place we discovered ourselves in, and damaging to all gamers who compete on Tour.”

Rating integrity

WTA chief Steve Simon mentioned the tour believes athletes collaborating in a person sport “shouldn’t be penalised or prevented from competing solely due to their nationalities or the choices made by the governments of their international locations.”

“The latest choices made by the All England Garden Tennis Membership (AELTC) and the Garden Tennis Affiliation (LTA) to ban athletes from competing within the upcoming UK grass courtroom occasions violate that basic precept,” Simon mentioned.

“Because of the AELTC’s place that it’s going to not honour its obligation to make use of the WTA Rankings for entry into Wimbledon and proceed with a partial discipline not primarily based on advantage, the WTA has made the tough choice to not award WTA rating factors for this 12 months’s Wimbledon Championships.”

Russian tennis star Daniil Medvedev
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in motion throughout his third-round match towards Croatia’s Marin Cilic on the All England Garden Tennis and Croquet Membership in July 2021 [File: Peter Nicholls/Reuters]

Ban slammed

Wimbledon’s ban on Russian and Belarusian rivals has been slammed by high gamers corresponding to 21-times Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal who labelled it unfair, whereas world primary Novak Djokovic mentioned he didn’t assist the choice.

The ban has dominated out a swath of high gamers, together with males’s world quantity two Daniil Medvedev and final 12 months’s ladies’s semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in addition to two-time main winner Victoria Azarenka.

Medvedev, talking in Paris earlier than the ATP choice was introduced, mentioned he wouldn’t resort to authorized motion towards Wimbledon however admitted “there are a number of errors” behind the controversial choice.

“If I can’t play, I’m not going to go to courtroom for this one,” 26-year-old Medvedev mentioned.

The ban has been broadly condemned particularly as Russian and Belarusian gamers are nonetheless allowed to compete at different tournaments together with the second Grand Slam of the season on the French Open which begins in Paris on Sunday.

“It’s unfair for my Russian colleagues,” mentioned Spanish star Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon winner, when the sanction was introduced. “It’s not their fault what’s occurring with the conflict.”