Friday, 9 December 2016
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Maritime boundaries

Maritime boundaries exist in cases where the territorial waters of two states overlap.

According to Article 15 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), failing the existance of a delimitation agreement no state has the right to extend its territorial waters beyond the median line.  This provision, which is included, with only very small changes in expression, in article 12(1) of the Geneva Convention on territorial waters and the contiguous zone codifies customary law.

With regard to the maritime boundaries between Greece and Turkey, the maritime region of the Evros estuary is delimited on the basis of the Athens Protocol of 26 November 1926. In the adjoining maritime region extending South from Evros to Samos and Ikaria, in the absence of relevant agreements with Turkey, the pricniple of equidistance/median line is implemented in accordance with customary law.  South of Samos, between the Dodecanese and the Turkish coast, the maritime boundaries are delimited based on the Agreement of  4 January 1932 and its Protocol of 28 December 1932 between Italy and Turkey. Greece was the successor state in the relevant provisions of these agreements, on the basis of Article 14(1) of the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty (10th February), which ceded sovereignty of the Dodecanese islands from Italy to Greece.

Turkey contends that there are no maritime boundaries with Greece, invoking the absence of a bilateral delimitation agreement, and also disputes the validity of the 28 December 1932 Protocol.

Any contentions on the part of Turkey regarding the abovementioned existing status are unfounded and contravene international law. The delimitation agreements are in full force and are binding for Turkey, whereas in regions where there is no agreement on the maritime boundary, the principle of equidistance/median line is implemented based on customary law.

Last Updated Wednesday, 17 April 2013