Analyzing Turkey’s Maritime Jurisdiction and Security Concerns: Navigating the Law of the Sea

Understanding Turkey’s Maritime Jurisdiction===

Turkey, with its strategic location connecting Europe and Asia, possesses significant maritime jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Understanding Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction is essential for comprehending its role in regional security and the complexities it faces. This article aims to analyze Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction and the security concerns it encounters, while also exploring the implications of international law and the Law of the Sea on its maritime activities.

===Territorial Waters: Examining Turkey’s Claims and Disputes===

Turkey’s territorial waters extend up to 12 nautical miles from its coastline, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). However, disputes arise due to Turkey’s differing interpretations of the sovereignty over certain islands and islets, such as Imia/Kardak in the Aegean Sea, which are also claimed by Greece. These disputes highlight the ongoing challenges in defining the exact boundaries of Turkey’s territorial waters.

===Exclusive Economic Zone: Assessing Turkey’s Resource Rights===

Turkey has established an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the Eastern Mediterranean, in line with UNCLOS. The EEZ grants Turkey sovereign rights over the exploration and exploitation of natural resources, including hydrocarbons, within an area extending up to 200 nautical miles from its coast. However, Turkey’s claims to the maritime resources in the region have been contested by Cyprus and Greece, leading to increased tensions and potential conflicts.

===Controversies and Conflicts: Analyzing Turkey’s Maritime Challenges===

Turkey faces various maritime controversies and conflicts, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean. Disputes between Turkey, Cyprus, and Greece revolve around the delimitation of maritime boundaries, exploration rights, and sovereignty over islands. Additionally, Turkey’s involvement in Syria and Libya has further complicated the maritime security environment. Such challenges have the potential to escalate into conflicts that could disrupt regional stability and impact international relations.

===Balancing Interests: Turkey’s Approach to Security Concerns===

Turkey recognizes the importance of balancing its security concerns with the need for cooperation and peaceful resolutions. It aims to protect its national interests while engaging in dialogue and negotiations, particularly with neighboring countries. Turkey actively participates in regional organizations such as the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Union for the Mediterranean, promoting collaboration on maritime security issues and fostering stability.

===International Law and the Law of the Sea: Implications for Turkey===

International law, particularly UNCLOS, plays a crucial role in governing Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction and its interactions with other states. Turkey is a party to UNCLOS and abides by its provisions, with the exception of its non-ratification of certain articles. The interpretation and implementation of these legal frameworks have significant implications for Turkey’s maritime activities, including its claims and disputes, resource rights, and security concerns.


Understanding Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction is essential for comprehending its security concerns and its role in the region. Disputes over territorial waters and the establishment of an Exclusive Economic Zone have given rise to tensions with neighboring countries, particularly Cyprus and Greece. However, Turkey aims to balance its interests by advocating for dialogue and negotiations, participating in regional organizations, and promoting collaboration on maritime security issues. International law, particularly UNCLOS, governs Turkey’s maritime activities and has implications for its claims, conflicts, and resource rights. As Turkey navigates the complex waters of the Law of the Sea, it continues to grapple with these challenges while endeavoring to maintain regional stability and security.