The Crisis In The Middle East

Places in news: Aegean Islands


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Aegean Sea

Mains level: NA

Turkey has warned Greece to demilitarise islands in the Aegean Sea.

What is the news?

  • Turkey says Greece has been building a military presence in violation of treaties that guarantee the unarmed status of the Aegean islands.
  • It argues the islands were ceded to Greece on the condition they remained demilitarized.

Where is the Aegean Sea?

  • The Aegean Sea has a surface area of about 215,000 km2 and a depth of 3,544 m at the deepest end.
  • It has a maximum length of about 700 km and a width of 400 km.
  • The Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits connect the Aegean Sea to the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea respectively.
  • The Aegean is subdivided into the Myrtoan Sea and the Thracian Sea and lies on the African and Eurasian tectonic plates’ collision path.

Control of the region

  • The sea is situated between the Anatolia and Balkan peninsulas and lies between Turkey and Greece.
  • Nine out of 12 of Greece’s administrative regions border the sea.
  • Turkish provinces, such as Balikesir, Canakkale, Edirne, and Izmir, borders the Aegean to the east.
  • The Aegean Sea is a source of dispute and controversy between Turkey and Greece, affecting their relationship since the 1970s.

What is the dispute?

  • Greece and Turkey are NATO allies.
  • However they have a history of disputes over a range of issues, including mineral exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and rival claims in the Aegean Sea.
  • Greece maintains Turkey has deliberately misinterpreted the treaties and says it has legal grounds to defend itself following hostile actions by Ankara.


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