The Aegean region took its name from this sea and has a typical mediterranean climate with dry sunny summers and winters that are rainy but not very cold. The water temperature in the summer months reach 23-24˚C with the northern part cooler than the southern part, and the northern part has more fish than the southern part.
Many ancient civilisations settled along the shores that included the Minoans, Mycenaean, Trojans, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans and its believed its name comes from either Aegea, an Amazonian queen who died in the sea, or from Aegeus, the father of Theseus, who threw himself in the sea and drowned. There are approximately 3,000 large and small islands in the Aegean, most of which today belong to Greece and the some of the most well known are Crete, Rhodes, Lesbos, Chios, Santorini, Mykonos, Patmos, Delos, Paros, Kos, Symi and Samos. Turkey has a few small islands and only two mid-sized islands near the Dardanelles called Bozcaada and Gokceada . Due to the high concentration of islands and rocks the Aegean has many gulfs and bays which attract the visitors to sail in its crystal clear waters.
The Aegean Sea and some of the Aegean islands brought several controversial issues between Turkey and Greece who are both members of NATO, mostly to do with sovereignty and related rights in the area. The relationship between the countries was particularly sour between the 1970s and mid 1990s because of disputes on territorial waters, national airspace and FIR lines, military flights, demilitarisation of some of the islands, and from islets that had unknown status of sovereignty. Over the last 10 years both countries have been working hard to improve bilateral relations, reducing tensions and keeping diplomatic lines open.
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