The Eastern Mediterranean Disputes
Greco-Turkish maritime disputes go way back and can be traced in competing narratives for national sovereignty.
These disputes started occurring in the formative periods of both states. Although the disputes have taken the form of a frozen conflict, they had some occasional flare-ups in the past and recent years. In the coup-d’état of 1974, Turkish forces invaded and captured 3% of the Cyprus before a ceasefire was declared.
The Greek military junta collapsed and was replaced by a democratic government. Afterwards, in August 1974, another Turkish invasion resulted in the capture of approximately 36% of the island.
The ceasefire line determined in August 1974 became what is now known as the United Nations Buffer Zone - a demilitarized zone patrolled by the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus - and is commonly referred to as the Green Line.
Given this backdrop, what are the factors of the territorial claims in the Eastern Mediterranean?
The maritime dispute between the two countries centres on three issues:
1) Disagreement over the boundaries of Greek territorial waters and the ownership of certain islands or isles in the Aegean Sea
2) The question of the two countries’ exclusive economic zones in the Eastern Mediterranean
3) The unresolved nature of the Cyprus crisis
In addition to these matters, Turkey also contends that several other issues, such as the sovereignty or demilitarized status of certain Greek islands, remain unresolved and hence need to be addressed. For its part, Greece rejects these demands outright as a violation of its sovereignty.
These territorial claims are important because these disputes are tied to both countries’ conflicting plans of national sovereignty, the compromises that would be necessary for the resolution of these conflicts are difficult and politically costly on both sides.
Additionally, the two parties cannot seem to agree on a framework within which to address the disputes.
In the 2021 edition of GMUN, delegates will have the opportunity to come up with solutions to this crucial topic while representing the countries in the Security Council.