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Israel’s Best Friend: Turkey Proposes Tel Aviv “Mutually-Beneficial” Maritime Deal

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Israel's Best Friend: Turkey Proposes Tel Aviv "Mutually-Beneficial" Maritime Deal

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The supposed defender of Islam and conservative values, Turkey, is rushing to build closer relations with Israel.

On December 7th, a study was published looking into the possibility of a maritime teal between Turkey and Israel.

The article was written by Retired Admiral Prof. Cihat Yayci and Zeynep Ceyhan from Bahçeşehir University. As the architect of Turkey’s “Blue Homeland Doctrine” and the Turkish-Libyan maritime delimitation agreement, Yayci and Ceyhan argue that Turkey and Israel should become neighbors in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cihat Yayci is a known close confidant of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Among other things, Yayci claims that this would be a win-win scenario for Israel and Turkey.

Delimitation of the Maritime Jurisdiction Areas between Turkey and Israel in Conformity with International Law: A pragmatic win-win

Turkey and Israel are two continental mainland coastal states of the eastern Mediterranean. Two countries can be seen to have coastlines which are positioned opposite to each other. In the light of their coasts that face one another, it becomes clear when diagonal lines are applied that, much like how Turkey and Libya share a maritime border, Turkey and Israel also share a maritime border.

According to this border shared by Turkey and Israel, in agreement with the principles of proportionality, land domination over sea, non-encroachment and equitability, and by using diagonal lines to delimit the maritime jurisdiction areas, it is lawful and possible for Turkey and Israel to make a delimitation agreement with each other. If Israel signs a delimitation agreement with Turkey, instead of the GCA, then it will obtain up to 16,000 km2 of maritime jurisdiction area. According to the Turkish-Israeli maritime border, Israel not only gains approximately 16,000 km² of maritime area, but this includes the entirety of parcel 12 known as the Aphrodite field, large amounts of the parcels numbered 8, 9 and 11, along with a portion of the parcels numbered 7 and 10. At the same time, Turkey gains around 10,000 km² of maritime area along with portions of the parcels numbered 1,5,6,7,8 and 10.

While such a delimitation agreement will be greatly beneficial for both Turkey and Israel, it is imperative to note that the delimitation line to be drawn in this regard would not be touching the island of Cyprus. Furthermore, the delimitation agreement between Israel and Turkey would not affect the current maritime jurisdiction areas of Egypt.”

The biggest issue is that according to Yayci, the deal that Israel struck with Greek-administered Cyprus is bad, because it provides too much EEZ to it, and as such is unfair because it doesn’t give enough to Turkey, according to its own understanding.

“The agreement GCA made with Israel demonstrated disregard for the principles of international maritime law, which has allowed the GCA to obtain a considerably larger amount of maritime area and to make it worse, an area which lawfully belongs to Israel. By signing such a delimitation agreement with the GCA, devoid of the guidance of the principles of international law, Israel has lost 4,600 km².

The maritime area within which the Aphrodite field is located also, is an area which Israel should legally claim. If we apply the above-mentioned principles in conformity with international law, and draw diagonal lines in accordance with geographic realities, the results also indicate that Turkey and Israel share a maritime border much like Turkey and Libya do. In this regard, were Israel to pursue a delimitation agreement with Turkey, based on the maritime border shared between them, Israel could gain up to 16,000 km² of maritime area.”

Yayci’s plan is such: outline what deals Israel has struck with Cyprus and Egypt, and has left Turkey out, and then say how Turkey would treat Israel more fairly, if Tel Aviv were to abandon the others and deal only with Ankara.

Also of potential benefit to Israel, based on Yayci’s proposal, is connecting Israel’s intended gas pipeline to Europe to the already existing Turkish pipeline. According to Yayci, this option would be “significantly more practicable and cheaper for Israel in comparison to the EastMed project.”

However, according to the editor of Turkeyscope Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak this was possible since relations were reportedly improving between Turkey and Israel in recent months.

“In light of the recent reports of rapprochement between the countries’ intelligence agencies, Yayci’s very proposal put forth in the article he penned indicates Ankara’s desire for a new upgrade of relations [with Israel],” said Turkeyscope editor Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak. “With that, for the two countries to upgrade relations to the point of real normalization, trust-building measures must be put in place, which before all else requires the return of ambassadors and consuls.”

Yanarocak added:

“For the sake of any relationship built on mutual trust, Turkey needs to change the nature of its discourse toward the State of Israel. In other words, it must stop with the delegitimization of Israel that harms its image in the Turkish street. Beyond that, Ankara must scrap its intimate relationship with Hamas. If Erdoğan does this, it’s reasonably safe to believe Jerusalem will strive to find ways to make the relationship prosper again, as has happened in the past.”

He even mentioned Jerusalem in his argumentation.

In presumed response, an anonymous Israeli official told the National Herald that Israel rejects the notion.

“Cyprus is an ally of Israel and the maritime border between the countries is recognized by the United Nations and European Union,” the official explained.

There is no actual official report from Israel that’s coming from anybody apart from an “anonymous official” but it is likely that the deal will not come through.

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