Casus belli can be removed ıf Greece takes step as well
Turkey’s reiteration of a suggestion last week that it would rescind the casus belli -- reason to go to war -- on any attempt by Greece to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles if Greece simultaneously agrees not to attempt such a thing has ignited discussions on the issue but has not been greeted with enthusiasm by Greece officials, who have labeled the suggestion as "Eastern guile." During a visit in Athens last week, ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Foreign Affairs Chairman Omer Celik and Ibrahim Kalin, chief foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reiterated that the parliaments of the both countries should act simultaneously to remove the shadow of casus belli from the bilateral relations. In 1995, a year after the Third United Nations Convention on Sea Law went into force, the Greek parliament declared that it might extend its territorial waters to 12 miles in the Aegean Sea. In an answer to this move, Turkey’s Parliament declared that if Greece unilaterally extended its territorial waters, Turkey would take measures to stop this, including military ones. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu recently hinted that the Turkish Parliament’s decision can be rescinded if the Greece takes action, too. Also it is expected that Turkey’s National Security Policy Document, which is going through a revision at the moment, will not include Greece as one of the main external threats. It is expected that the revised document will underline economic and political cooperation with Greece while scaling down the threat perception, although Ankara and Athens have come to the brink of war three times in the past over territorial disputes. Both Celik and Kalin, who were visiting Athens on the occasion of Turkey’s very first attempts to strengthen its public diplomacy efforts in a joint meeting with Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), suggested the removal of the decisions of both the Greek and Turkish parliaments simultaneously. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also expected to pay a visit to Athens in October and most probably he will reiterate the same idea in his bilateral talks. Greek Deputy Defense Minister Panos Beglitis, while assessing the suggestions of Celik and Kalin, said the decisions of the parliaments were two different things entirely, the Anatolia news agency reported. He also claimed that Turkey is acting with "Eastern guile" and added that the Greek parliament’s decision is about benefitting from an internationally recognized right whereas the Turkish Parliament’s decision is arbitrary.