Türkiye, Greece should prioritize East Med security: Expert

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Türkiye and Greece should develop formulas that prioritize Eastern Mediterranean security, an expert said Monday during the 15th Istanbul Security Conference.

Topics discussed at the conference, given with the capital Ankara’s Başkent University, included the Russia-Ukraine war, opportunities and challenges in the Black Sea region, maritime border disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, refugee migration and disasters.

Maria Gavouneli, an expert on international law at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, discussed maritime disputes and geopolitical competition in the Eastern Mediterranean.

She stressed that the Eastern Mediterranean is an important region and that Türkiye and Greece should take steps for security in the region.

She said that Türkiye and Greece should develop formulas that prioritize Eastern Mediterranean security, adding that she hopes that the two nations will meet to discuss other contentious matters, including maritime boundary disputes.

Alexander Proelss, head of the Institute for the Law of the Sea and Maritime Law at Hamburg University, said that it is imperative that the problems between the two countries be resolved through negotiations according to the principle of equity.

Saying that the tension between Türkiye and Greece has become more complex in the last 10 years, Proelss said that this tension has also triggered problems.

Proelss said there are certain rules and principles of international law, and that a formula to be found in line with these principles can solve problems between the two countries.

Relations between Athens and Ankara have warmed significantly in recent weeks after Greece’s rapid assistance in the wake of twin earthquakes that shook southern Türkiye in early February.

Likewise, Türkiye was the first country to offer condolences and aid following a deadly Feb. 28 train accident in northern Greece that left dozens dead.

The Greek government has sent 80 tons of medical and first aid equipment. Thousands of Greeks had responded to calls for aid to quake-hit Türkiye, reviving memories of how a spontaneous outpouring of help after a similar disaster in 1999 brought the neighbors together when they seemed to be on the brink of war.

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