Turkey Greece Airspace Violations Explained

Discussion in 'Turkish Defence Forum' started by Atilla, Jan 9, 2016.

Share This Page

  1. Atilla

    Atilla Major

    Oct 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Brief Explanation and Background:

    Since the 18th Century territorial coastal waters was accepted to be 3 nm off of one's coast for all countries. Later in The Convention on the Continental Shelf of 29 April 1958 12 nm was considered to be acceptable offshore territory by the international community. Neither Turkey nor Greece have applied the 12 nm claim in the Aegean. Today Greece claims 10 nm for itself but Turkey says that each country should only claim 6 nm. Under international law it is recommended that countries claim the median when their territorial waters overlap. This is the principle of equity. While jurisprudence has determined that international law does not mandate a particular method of delimitation, it requires the consideration of equitable principles, also called special circumstances or factors. The notion of equity is therefore the foundation of boundary determination.


    The below map shows the various outcomes of specific territorial claims:

    The lightest blue is international waters.
    The dark blue is if Greece accepts 6nm of territorial waters.
    The medium blue color is if Greece accepts the 12nm of territorial waters.
    The yellow is if Turkey accepts 12nm of territorial waters for itself.


    Current 6 nm claims


    Greek 10 nm claim


    Turkish Airspace Violations or Not?


    After Russian Jets operation out of Syria had violated Turkish Airspace and one of them was downed we all of a sudden saw headlines and articles talking about how Turkey had violated Greek airspace 2000+ times. By putting out articles like this they were trying to show that Turkey was somehow being hypocritical after the downing of a Russian Su-24, what is not mentioned very often is that these so called airspace violations are based on the Greek 10 nm claim which is not recognized by Turkey. For Turkey they are routine flights in Turkish or international waters but for Greeks they are airspace violations. Even if there were airspace violations that would not be something out of the ordinary for both sides given the geography of the area.
    xenon54 likes this.