The South’s Energy Exploration Breaks International Law

The South's Energy Exploration Breaks International LawThe South’s Energy Exploration Breaks International Law

According to Prof. Dr. Ata Atun of Near East University in North Cyprus the first maritime law passed in 1958, and the second maritime law in 1960, asserts that the east Mediterranean area is an exclusive economic zone of Egypt and Turkey, and therefore the south does not have rights for exploration in this region. This is despite the fact that the third maritime law passed in 1982 gave islands both continental shelves and exclusive economic zone rights. When Greece used the 1982 law to declare its 12 mile continental shelf Turkey announced that the move would be “casus belli” (a cause of war).

Because Turkey is not a signatory to the third maritime law, and the rule of maritime law stipulates is that all guarantors involved need to be party to apply the law, the law cannot be implemented, Atun believes.

Suleyman Bosca, chairman of the Ankara-based Energy Law Research Institute, said that south’s unilateral declaration of the Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ, is an infringement of international law and consequently a border clash in the east Mediterranean was inevitable. According to him:

” Turkey did not declare an EEZ in the East Mediterranean but it does not mean that Turkey has no rights on the east Mediterranean resources. Due to the politically divided structure of the Cyprus Island, apportionment of natural gas around the island causes disputes.”

According to Bosca, the Zurich and London agreements dating back from 1959, which defined the statutes of the island of Cyprus and assigned Greece, Turkey and the U.K. as guarantors of the island, along with the Cyprus agreement of 1960 are not ignorable and the resources around the island have to be shared by both Turkish and Greek sides of the island.

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