OP/ED: Turkey prepares for dialogue, delimits its claims and builds arguments

OP/ED: Turkey prepares for dialogue, delimits its claims and builds arguments

It took Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov 11 months of wait and tens of thousands of photos to get the photo that won him the award for best wildlife photographer, showing a Siberian tiger hugging a tree. In the recorded scene, the tiger hugs a tree, leaving its mark and delimiting its personal living space.

One might reasonably ask, what can a tiger have to do with what is happening many kilometers from Siberia and more specifically in the Eastern Mediterranean?

And yet the practice of the Siberian tiger is very similar to what Turkey does in the Eastern Mediterranean, as with its research vessels, it delimits what it considers its vital space. It leaves its mark to be recorded not only in the subconscious of its internal audience but also in the international community, challenging in practice the sovereign and potential sovereign rights of Greece.

What Turkey is actually doing is letting its imprint be recorded on what it considers to belong to her or is disputed. She uses Law, International or Customary just like an excellent lawyer, arguing for legal or illegal claims.

I think no one accuses a lawyer of using all the legal weapons at his disposal to win a lawsuit in which his client may not be right. He does his job for the interests of his client. Respectively, Turkey does her job for her own interests, whether Greece likes it or not.

Just as a lawsuit depends on the legal arguments of the opponents as to who will be able to win the lawsuit, where they both believe they are right, so Greece will have to build her own narrative in the international environment. One that will understandable and with arguments that will be very difficult to dispute.

The legal weapons provided by international law exist for all parties. But what makes the difference in the Greek-Turkish differences in my humble opinion, is how the line of arguments is built in each issue.

In recent years, before the invasion of Cyprus, Turkey has been building a legitimate justification for her actions, which she is defending to the core. In other words, she is looking for that international legal framework that will legitimize her every action, many times distorting the International Law in her service. This is what she did with the invasion of Cyprus, this is what she is doing today in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean.

Turkey is currently preparing, analyzes the data and the international situation and uses them in her moves. It builds its argument for a possible appeal to the International Court of Justice, presenting to the international community cases similar to the data in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean, which serve her interests.

On the other hand, she tests the reflexes of Greece and its borders. She works provocatively within the bounds of legality though. She does not violate what Greece has demarcated. Even the Greece-Egypt EEZ Delimitation Agreement, which she does not recognize, something that can clearly be seen in the NAVTEX that she issues for Oruc Reis. Turkey’s provocations are on the safe side, as for herself and for International Law, as she uses it, she does not do anything illegalize, removing legal bases from Greece to react by appealing to International Justice.

It is no coincidence that all foreign political leaders talk about disputed areas.

She also knows very well the displacement that she has as a country on the international diplomatic chessboard and she uses this to her advantage.

Turkey does not want a war. If she really wanted one she would have done it. Turkey wants dialogue. A desire that was strengthened immediately after the signing of the EEZ Delimitation Agreement between Greece and Italy, as it believes that the terms of this Agreement serve her own interests in a possible demarcation with Greece and appeal to the International Court of Justice. She definitely feels victorious after the hasty demarcations of Greece’s EEZ with Italy and Egypt, which give legal arguments to Turkey to claim and possibly win.

Unfortunately, the reading of the situation by the Greek political elite in most cases is erroneous and this is projected to the Greek-Turkish differences, with a negative sign for Greece./ibna