Seville Map has no legal significance, says US Embassy in Ankara
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara on Sept. 21 emphasized that Washington does not take positions on other states’ maritime borders, besides saying that the Seville map has no legal significance in the eyes of Washington.
“With respect to the ‘legal status’ of the Seville map, the United States does not consider the Seville Map to have any legal significance. We understand the European Union does not consider the Seville map to be a legally binding document,” according to the embassy statement.
“Maritime boundaries are for the states concerned to resolve by agreement on the basis of international law. The United States strongly supports good-faith dialogue and negotiation and encourages Greece and Turkey to resume exploratory talks as soon as possible,” it added.
The Seville Map attempts to restrict Turkey’s Mediterranean sovereignty area to 41,000 square kilometers, restraining the country to the shoreline.
In the early 2000s, experts from Mateos from Seville University prepared a map on the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Turkey and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, upon a request by the European Union (EU), but it is not officially binding.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the rival parties of the eastern Mediterranean dispute are changing their positions in favor of diplomacy.
“Those who ignore Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, who persistently tried to impose their theses and maps began to approach the diplomacy table,” Erdoğan said after the cabinet meeting on Sept. 21.
Erdoğan said he believes the dispute can be resolved through dialogue as long as fair proposals are on the table, but he still warned that the alternative was a “fight.’’
“In Cyprus, the Mediterranean and the Aegean ... we are not encroaching on anyone’s rights or honor,’’ the president said. “We are just asking for respect for our rights.’’
Speaking of the approach for negotiations that it depends on the fairness and reality of the proposals, Erdoğan said, “We believe that there is no issue that cannot be resolved through dialogue, negotiation and agreement but of course, this approach is valid on condition that they come in front of us with proposals that fit fairness and reality, or else the fight cannot be avoided.”
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, on the other hand, called the accusations made by the Greek president to be funny, futile propaganda, and a provocation.
“It will undoubtedly be in the interest of his country, the Greek Cypriot administration of South Cyprus and the whole region if the Greek president sincerely adopts the discourse of peace and reconciliation instead of war statements,” Oktay told Anadolu Agency, criticizing Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou’s use of the word “occupant” toward Turkey, during her visit to Greek Cyprus.
Meanwhile, the fifth meeting of military delegations between Greece and Turkey took place on Sept. 22 at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
The military delegations of the two neighbors discussed ways to curb the possibility of any incident amid rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
The delegations will be meeting again next week, the Defense Ministry stated.