The move was made following an order by Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos.
A Greek Foreign Ministry announcement said that this action ensures Greece's interests, and allows our country to defend its sovereignty in accordance with customary and conventional laws of the sea, and in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982).
With this historical move, Greece has now formally and officially informed the United Nations and its relevant bodies, on Turkey’s licensing research in Greek continental shelf areas to the TFAO company, while the verbale note will also be published in the Law of the Sea Bulletin.
The Foreign Ministry said that Greece wants good neighborly relations with Turkey, as well as with all the countries in the region, but this should be based on mutual respect and international law, especially when it concerns matters that affect Greece's sovereign rights and exploitation of its natural wealth.
Since spring 2012, the Turkish government had unilaterally granted licenses for research to the Turkish state oil company to locate hydrocarbons. Among the areas that the Turks decided to divest to TPAO were some belonging to the Greek continental shelf south of Rhodes and Kastelorizo. In order to protect and safeguard the Greek sovereign rights, the Foreign ministry gave a verbal note to the UN to ensure that Turkey's unilateral action to baptize areas of the Greek continental shelf as Turkish will not produce other results nor create a fait accompli case or legal precedents.
On Thursday afternoon (Greek time), Avramopoulos met in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and briefed him on the issue.
And while Greece was making history in New York, Greek Defence Minister Panos Panagiotopoulos, who was in Brussels to attend a Conference of NATO Defence Ministers, met and held talks with his Turkish counterpart Ismet Yilmaz. Reports said that Panagiotopoulos sent a stern message to Ankara noting that the violations (of Greek airspace and territorial waters) hurt the climate of good relations between both nations.
The Greek minister addressed him with an informal demarche, noting that: "My Turkish colleague Mr. Ismet Yilmaz, and I, had a long discussion, where both sides presented their positions. In regards to Greece's position, we made it clear (from our side) that our country seeks good neighborly relations (and cooperation from Ankara) as well as a framework of security, stability and peace in a region that includes both countries, Greece and Turkey." Although Panagiotopoulos was being extremely diplomatic and politically correct, he also said that the inflammatory statements made from Turkey from time to time, combined with the infringements and violations of Greece's airspace, and the unexplainable provocations by Turkish warships in the Aegean, do not help both nations achieve stability nor do they work towards achieving this.
(You bet they don't).
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