DOI: 10.31857/s086919080025976-0 ISSN: 0869-1908

"Aegean Dispute" in Turkish-Greek Relations

Alexandra Atrashkevich
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Cultural Studies

From 1913 to 1947, the contractual and legal basis for the distribution of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece was established; however, the agreements signed during this period with the aim to delimit the sovereignty over the maritime territories, in fact, promoted later a new upsurge of disputes between Ankara and Athens. The reason for this was that the agreements failed to resolve some controversial issues, and in some points they also contradicted one another. The Aegean dispute was also influenced by the fact that since the 1920s exploration and mining of offshore hydrocarbon deposits have been gaining strength, and in 1973, the first oil was obtained in the north of the Aegean Sea. Thus, the triggers for the exacerbation of Turkish-Greek relations in the second half of the twentieth century were, on the one hand, the shortcomings of the previous legal framework for the division of the Aegean Sea, on the other hand, the technological improvements which made it possible exploring the seabed. Both of these factors had a great influence on the relations between Ankara and Athens; at the same time, one should not forget that the ground for the emergence of disputes was fertile. This refers to the historical memory within the two countries about the relations between them which were filled over the centuries with wars, acts of violence, mutual grievances, etc.; and as the memory of kind is still alive for the both sides, it helps to reproduce a predominantly unfriendly if not inimical nature of relations between them.

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