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Follow-up: Greek-Turkish fighter plane crash

by Upstate NY Fri Jun 2nd, 2006 at 10:42:09 AM EST

The Greek government has been kicking around a proposal to have any boundary disputes with Turkey settled in the Hague. This was a proposal offered by the former President, Stephanopoulos, who stepped down in the last year. The current PM gave it a nod of approval.

Turkey has already answered the proposal (even though I couldn't find it being made officially, which tells me that the issue may have been discussed at recent meetings between the two heads of state, ironically just before the crash last week).

Here's the analysis from a Greek paper on the proposal and on Turkey's response:
 [www.ekathimerini.com]

This was posted earlier this week...but think it is significant news ~ whataboutbob


This newspaper has normally been one of the biggest cheerleaders both of Turkish-Greek rapprochement and of Turkey's EU bid.

This may not be the case anymore.

In the earlier version of the diary, I misread this quote as referring to a current proposal, but in fact, the writer is referencing a 1975 proposal, and this correction may give context to a few of the responses below: "Ankara replied that Karamanlis's proposal would be accepted on the condition that Greece recognized that the continental shelf is an extension of Anatolia. That would mean that half of the continental shelf belongs to Turkey and that all of Greece's northern Aegean islands lie on the Turkish continental shelf. Of course the Turkish condition would automatically "settle" the dispute, making the tribunal redundant. Karamanlis's proposal revealed Turkey's expansionist drive and its blatant disregard for international law."

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Surprised this hasn^t gotten more comments...wow, what is Turkey thinking, that Greece will just hand over their islands?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 04:41:58 PM EST
Dumb-add positional bargaining.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 04:44:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dumb-ass. <sheesh>
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 04:46:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
bob, Upstate didn't quote that part from the article, but his/her quote refers to a previous, 1975 proposal to go to the Hague, not the current one.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 10:08:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...continental shelf. Geology to the rescue...

Picture from: http://www.earthquakeprediction.gr/Aegeanplateen.htm

Let the Greek stick to their continent, and the Turks to theirs. Problem solved. Oh, and Cyprus stays split, as you can see, but the Greek will have to be replaced with folks from Egypt or so.

by Nomad on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 05:17:05 PM EST
Looking at that website, it appears that--under the continental shelf logic--Turkey will take all of Greece, but in the interim, Greece will take all of North Africa.

Of course, Rhodes seems firmly under the "Anatolian" shelf already.

Mind you, Greece never really wanted to take this "shelf" question to court because Greece has always held that the islands and territories in question are a matter of treaties and diplomatic agreements, not subject to the movement of subterranean plates. The subterranean plates theory was always Turkey's idea. So, now that the air crash happened, Greece simply said, fine, we'll put your subterranean plates theory to the test--at the Hague.

For background, consider that Turkey--the current state--feels it lost valuable territories in treaties with Italy and France which awarded former Ottoman territories to Greece (for instance, Rhodes, Kos, Crete, etc.)  So, in Turkey, the gov't is simply asking that certain treaties be annulled which were written up when the empire was dissolving and Turkey was at its weakest. (Never mind that these territories were predominately inhabited by Greeks, even during the Ottoman period.) This is really what it's all about.

Background:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gavdos

http://www.brothersjudd.com/blog/archives/2003/09/just_another_ism_1.html

Unfortunately for the Greeks, this argument has fallen on fallow ears in the United States, where some State Department Dips have been open to the argument that so many Greek islands bore so closely into the Turkish coast that a discussion of their ownership is imaginable. Of course, this kind of thinking would tend to ignore the former status of the entire region as a multiethnic empire. That coast, the Ionian coast (from whence the Hellenes derive their Turkish name, Yunan), was once populated by a great number of Turks, Greeks, Armenians, Syrians and yes, Italians/French. Smyrna was its biggest city. So, revising the coastline so that it makes "continental" sense is a bit like revising history. Then again, I always thought the Mexicans should give Baja to the US. They don't call it Baja California for nothing, ya know?

by Upstate NY on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 06:23:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The subterranean plates theory was always Turkey's idea. So, now that the air crash happened, Greece simply said, fine, we'll put your subterranean plates theory to the test--at the Hague.

It is a subterranean plate division for the Turks? I thought I was just being distracting with my geology dabbling. Grief. Life is stranger than fiction, and all that. Yet if it is, the claim makes no geologic sense.

I've to say I possess very little knowledge on this particular issue (so thanks for that!), though it's a recurrent theme everywhere. Chavez has made this year rather threatening statements to retake the three islands (which still are official part of the Netherlands) bobbing 50 km before the Venezuelan coast...

Yet now I feel an urgent need to set the geology straight...

Turkey will take all of Greece, but in the interim, Greece will take all of North Africa.

Oh no. Turkey is on the Anatolian micro-plate; the fault zone with the Aegean micro-plate runs parallel to the western coast of Turkey and the Ionian islands. It's the thin black line on the picture above. And the Aegean micro-plate contains unquestionable Greece. So, most (but not all) of the islands would remain under Greek territory anyway. Then again, with Anatolia being crunched against the Aegean plate that borderarea is so extremely fractured, it may take decades and thousands of independent geologists to figure out the decisive fault line...

But Greece her territory, plate-wise, ends south of Crete. Pretty much nothing of Africa, I'm afraid. But with enough patience, parts of it will be underneath Greek, if that's a solace...

by Nomad on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 08:21:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I was just exaggerating. I saw one of the other projections which showed Turkey moving West (heh, heh) and Greece moving southward into Africa (another irony).

Of course, this will happen over millenia and by that time, we will all look back on this current decade as the one in which the devil's seed, GWB, triggered a host of cataclysms which ended in the destruction of mankind as we know it.

by Upstate NY on Wed May 31st, 2006 at 08:27:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How do you mean "we"? I think you mean the (more) sentient beings that evolve after the human race has gone extinct...
by Nomad on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 06:16:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh, perhaps California should be reconnected to Baja and given back to Mexico...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 03:54:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Er... aren't you confusing continental shelf with continental plates?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 06:21:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Re-defining. Stop that nonsense about continental shelf depth and nautical miles. Look at the plate lines instead, problem gone. :)
by Nomad on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 07:13:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not about continental shelf depth but the fact that the sea bottom is rather flat near the coast and then there is a big-ass cliff.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 07:34:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The continental shelf (white on the map) seems very small in the Aegean... and possibly not contiguous (source)

Compare the North Sea shelf...


A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 07:45:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A prankish comment is starting to lead a life by its own...

I too was looking for bathymetry charts of the Aegean, those pictures are lovely. Yet bathymetry is just half of the story here. In the case of the Aegean, the original continental shelf nearly everywhere overlaps with the Aegean microplate. If you mean that it appears not contiguous because of abrupt variations in depth, compared to the less varied depth in the North Sea, that's because it's so actively getting stretched and broken up. If we adhere strictly to this definition of the continental shelf the Aegean sea is a hopeless mess. Yet I can assure you or anyone with a practically 100% guaratee that practically all of the Aegean crust is on the same continental plate Athens is. Switch your territory definition to plates instead and the Greeks have a much better argument...

Now for the bummer: in the post by Talos I discovered that the definition for continental shelf used in this dispute differs with the common one. When I wrote the initial post, I'd no idea about that and assumed the whole she-bang of shelf, slope, shelf break etcetera was meant. And from geological viewpoint, using a definition of the continental shelf with shelf breaks as a means to come up with territory divisions just sounded ludicrous for the Aegean, as you point out yourself...

by Nomad on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 12:38:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A prankish comment is starting to lead a life by its own...

"Nothing is 'mere'" — Richard P. Feynman

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 02:05:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some background material: The Aegean Dispute (wikipedia's excellent article), the Turkish position, the Greek Answer.

In light of the recent events I would caution against taking diplomatique leaks to the press at face value. The Turkish foreign ministry leaked a proposal that was supposedly rejected by the Greek side, which would have been quite generous towards the Greek position (this has been vigorously denied by the Greek government).

It seems that neither government would be willing to make any concession in bilateral negotiations, because public opinion in both countries has been driven to perceive any retreat from its "national positions" as treason. So the Hague might offer a way that will allow the governments to present any such steps back as mandated by the court. The problem is that Greece will not accept the court's authority on matters of sovereignty over the islands (rightly in my opinion, some of the disputed islands are inhabited).

As for the accident, I'm not sure about how it was presented in Turkey, but in Greece the media have turned this into a frenzy of nationalism. I note that the distinction between FIR and national airspace for example is being lost, as the accident occured not over Greek airspace but inside the Greek FIR.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 04:32:47 AM EST
But some good seems to come out of this deadly accident -- from your last link:

Although Ankara and Athens agreed on the establishment of the hotline between the Eskisehir and Larissa aviation centers during the visit of former Greek Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis to Turkey in April 2005, disagreement over who would monitor the line and answer the phones deadlocked implementation of the agreement.
When the disagreement remained, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Greek counterpart Karamalis declined to publicly announce the opening of the line during their meeting in Thessalonica early this month. But following last week's deadly dogfight, the line is expected to be opened next month.
The hotline, meant to monitor and control the flights over the Aegean, is expected to be a step towards confidence-building between Turkey and Greece, and since both the Eskisehir and Larissa centers are serving NATO activities, there will be a well-developed communication system between the two countries.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 02:48:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Upstate, it would have been good to include a reference to the time of the event in your quote: 1975. Most readers seem to have assumed that this was a response to the current proposal, not the previous (even though the names are different).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 10:06:23 AM EST
The choice of quote does tend to make Ankara look as bad as possible, doesn't it?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 10:10:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the correction. Colman, please stop with your nefarious suggestions. I'm an educated person, not a moron. Why would I link to something that makes me look like a dunderhead, when the truth is there for all to see? Please, just accept that I made a mistake.

Also realize that Turkey, as recently as a month ago, said that the logic of the 1975 quote still exists. Any attempt by Greece to delimit the space around these islands, which Greece assumes belong to Greece, will be treated as a Casus Belli. A cause for war.

Furthermore, although 1975 is long past, the claims over Gavdos are fresh.

Lastly, it's plain to see when I made the statement that I couldn't find any official word of a Greek proposal (so I assumed it was made through internal channels) that I had misread the quote. The paragraph break in the article led me astray.

by Upstate NY on Thu Jun 1st, 2006 at 12:55:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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