Turkey disputes sovereignty of Greeks islets and reefs in the Aegean

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a stern response to Turkey’s dispute…

The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a stern response to Turkey’s dispute of the sovereignty of islets and reefs in the Aegean Sea, following controversial statements by the Turkish President Erdogan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Treaty of Lausanne.

It is obvious that the ruling and the opposition parties in Turkey are picking a fight over an issue that does not concern them. Certain people in the neighboring country wish to drag Turkey towards a path and an attitude that contradicts international law and is in no way compatible with that of a European country”, the statement reads. Furthermore, the Greek Ministry underlined that “revisionist rationales, as is well known, have always led to negative paths and have always been defeated. Last, let it be reminded that the only topic of exploratory contacts was and still is the delimitation of the continental shelf according to the provisions and the rules of international law”.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that that there is a series of interlinked problems in the Aegean Sea, including the sovereignty of certain islets and reefs, since there is no internationally-recognized agreement between Greece and Turkey on maritime borders that is in effect.

This statement came in response to a clash between the head of the Turkish opposition party CHP and the government, over recent controversial and provocative statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Treaty of Lausanne. The Turkish President claimed that via this treaty Ankara “gave away islands that you could shout across to” to Greece and that “some tried to deceive us by presenting Lausanne as victory”.

The opposition party – whose late leader negotiated the Treaty – responded that the deal improved the previous treaty that had been negotiated by the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, the CHP party questioned the Turkish President’s decision to raise such an issue, when unemployment, corruption and the persecutions in the fallout of the recent coup are pressing.

Greek parties respond

Condemnation of the recent provocative statements also came from the opposition parties in Greece. New Democracy commented that Greece must be particular careful now that Turkey has reinstated the so-called ‘grey zone’ issue in its discourse. The River called the government to respond to the Turkish claims by taking action in the international forums, while noting that the Prime Minister’s earlier statements on the sea not having borders can be damaging to national interests.

PASOK underlined that the recent statements from Turkish officials are unacceptable and provocative, as they are contrary to international law and the principles of good neighborliness. The opposition party added that the Greek government must act wisely and with determination, to avoid harming the country’s national interests.

The Union of Centrists claimed that the Turkish Ministry’s statement is «unacceptable and historically groundless”, adding that the Treaty of Lausanne constituted the birth of modern Turkey. The opposition party stressed that “the revisionism and neo-Ottoman dreams of President Erdogan are undermining Greco-Turkish relations” and urged Turkey to stop raising tension, especially since the annual “Parmenion” military exercise begins next week.

Helios Kiosk