It is Turkey's security considerations that brought the islands under demilitarized status. Therefore, it is rather unconvincing to claim now that it is Greek security that matters and use this argument to justify the exercise of the right of self-defense.
Another source of dispute is over the exercise of the powers of the Air Traffic Service (ATS) authority over the high seas.
Greece's 10 Mile Territorial Sea for the Purposes of Aviation
The regime of airspace has always been a corollary to the regime of subjacent territories. This is the unequivocal rule of international law as enshrined in Articles 1,2 and 12 of the Chicago Convention as well as in Annex 2 on the Rules of the Air. Under this rule, sovereignty of the state over the airspace is limited by its land territory and territorial waters.
Greece is the only country which does not comply with this rule. In 1931, Greece extended its territorial waters with a Decree "for the purposes of aviation" to 10 nautical miles. At that time, the breadth of Greek territorial sea was 3 nautical miles. Now, it is 6 nautical miles. The Decree of 1931 purports to establish two different territorial waters for different purposes and with different limits. Such a claim is a clear violation of international law as well as articles 1 and 2 of the Chicago Convention to which Greece is a party. This is not only a bilateral question between Turkey and Greece, but it is also a concern for the international community. In the Aegean, beyond 6 miles of territorial sea, it is high seas and international airspace is regulated by ICAO under Rules of the Air. Greece, by its claim of 10 miles of airspace has carved arbitrarily 4 additional miles from international airspace and consequently, with about 2,000 Greek islands in the Aegean, international airspace has been considerably reduced.
Airspace over the Aegean high seas is part of Athens' Flight Information Region (FIR). FIRs are depicted in the regional plans and are established with the sole aim of providing facilities and services to the civilian aircraft flying in the international airspace.
In a resolution adopted by the 22nd ICAO Assembly in 1977, it is stated that assignment of FIR responsibility over the high seas "shall be limited to technical operations" and "provision by a state of air traffic services within airspace over the high seas does not imply recognition of sovereignty of that state over the airspace concerned."
The problem in the Aegean arises from Greece's interpretation of its FIR responsibility as a national boundary line. Accordingly, Greece requests flight plans from the Turkish military aircraft and asserts that refusal of submitting flight plans by the Turkish military aircraft constitutes "a violation of the Greek FIR". However, under ICAO rules, military aircraft flying in the airspace over the high seas are under no obligation to submit flight plans. Furthermore, there cannot be a "violation" of Greek FIR, since FIR responsibility does not attribute sovereignty to Greece over international airspace.
Proposals for the Settlement of the Disputes
Delimitation of maritime areas in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean are two distinct processes. Whereas the Aegean Sea delimitation is a bilateral process, the delimitation in the Mediterranean is a multilateral one.