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17 July, 2024
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Turkey to map marine parks in the Aegean

Mitsotakis to create marine parks, one in the Aegean and one in the Ionian Sea


Turkey has announced its own initiative to map marine parks in the Aegean Sea, a move seen as retaliatory against Greece, according to an analysis in the Daily Sabah newspaper titled "Ankara Will Map Marine Parks in Tit-for-Tat Move Against Athens."

A Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to media communication restrictions, revealed that Turkey's Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure will spearhead the design of these marine parks.

Last month, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced at the 9th International Conference "Our Ocean" the creation of two large national marine parks, one in the Aegean and one in the Ionian Sea.

"This announcement was sharply criticized by neighboring Turkey, which accused Athens of exploiting environmental issues to advance a geopolitical agenda," the report said.

A Turkish diplomatic source indicated that Ankara had not been informed about Greece's plans beforehand, nor had it received any proposals for consultation or cooperation. "This move is considered by Ankara as a 'fait accompli'," the source said.

The Daily Sabah's analysis described the incident as another example of the persistent challenges in Greek-Turkish relations, noting that it threatens to disrupt recent positive developments between the two countries.

"Greece's unilateral move, without consulting Turkey, translates into territoriality through the demarcation and regulation of the use of resources in a geographically defined area. Marine parks, which are designated areas aimed at achieving ecological sustainability and enabling marine recreational activities, can either foster cooperation or ignite regional conflicts. The issue is sensitive as international law does not provide clear guidelines for transboundary marine conservation," the report stated.

The article highlighted instances where countries have used marine parks to assert rights over disputed marine resources and establish sovereignty over marine spaces. However, it also pointed to successful examples of cooperation, such as the 1996 agreement between Malaysia and the Philippines to create the Turtle Island Heritage Protected Area in the Sulu Sea.

"In this context, a memorandum was concluded between the two governments. Cooperation is inevitable. A joint management formula under safeguarding areas can be achieved following a consultation and information exchange process, leading to the establishment of joint management and monitoring committees. Legal instruments, such as drafting bilateral treaties or memoranda of understanding, can strengthen the process," the report concluded.

Cyprus  |  parks  |  Turkey  |  Aegean

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