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The Aegean Sea is a Mediterranean Sea arm that lies between the Greek peninsula on the west and Asia Minor on the east. The Aegean Sea is connected to the Black Sea via the straits of the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosporus, with the island of Crete marking its southern boundary.
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Aegean Sea Map
The Aegean Sea is depicted on this map between Greece and Turkey.
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Aegean Sea Bordering Countries
The Aegean Sea is mainly bordered by two countries namely Greece in the west and north and Turkey on the eastern side. The region was home to two great ancient civilizations: Crete and Greece.
Aegean Sea Archipelago
The Aegean Sea was known as the archipelago in ancient times. According to Greek mythology, it was named after Aegeus or Aegeas, Theseus’ father, who threw himself into the sea and drowned because he thought his son was dead.
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Aegean Sea Islands
The Aegean Islands are divided into several island groups, including the Dodecanese, Cyclades, Sporades, Saronic Islands, and North Aegean Islands, in addition to Crete and its surrounding islands. The Dodecanese, located to the southeast, includes the islands of Rhodes, Kos, and Patmos; the Cyclades, located to the south of the sea, include the islands of Delos and Naxos. Lesbos is an island in the North Aegean Sea. Despite being administered as part of Central Greece, Euboea, Greece’s second-largest island, is located in the Aegean.
Nine of Greece’s twelve administrative regions border the sea, as do the Turkish provinces of Edirne, Canakkale, Balkesir, Izmir, Aydn, and Mula to the east. Imbros, Tenedos, Cunda Island, and the Foça Islands are among the Turkish sea islands.
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Aegean Sea Treaty
During the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, Greece absorbed the Ottoman Empire’s islands of Limnos, Samothrace, Lesvos, Samos, Chios, and Ikaria. The Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 granted it official sovereignty over them. Another treaty negotiated in London in 1914 made Greek possession of the islands contingent on their demilitarisation. The Lausanne Treaty, according to Turkey, refers to the 1914 Treaty and implies the same conditionality. Greece disagrees with that interpretation.
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Aegean Sea Dispute
The Aegean Sea has been a source of political tensions between Greece and Turkey, particularly with regard to disputes over the delimitation of their territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. Turkey claims that Greece has been erecting a military presence in violation of treaties that guarantee the Aegean islands’ unarmed status. It claims that the islands were given to Greece on the condition that they remain demilitarized. Greece maintains its position. Turkey has purposefully misinterpreted the treaties and claims legal grounds for self-defence, including a long-standing threat of war if Greece extends its territorial waters. Greek-Turkish differences are currently focused on water rather than land.
They currently share six nautical miles (11 kilometres) of Aegean territorial water. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), signed in 1982 and ratified by 158 countries, states that states may claim up to 12 nautical miles (about 20km).
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Aegean Sea Significance
Access to the sea allowed Ancient Greece to expand economically. Because being on the sea allows for the construction of numerous ports for trade. The Greeks also became skilled navigators, allowing them to trade with other city-states. The ancient Greeks used to travel from city to city across the Aegean Sea. The Aegean Sea has a rich cultural and historical heritage, as it was the centre of several ancient civilizations such as the Minoans and Mycenaeans. The Aegean Sea is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, and it also serves as a critical habitat for several species of migratory birds.
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