German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne disputed by Turkey is indisputable, backing Greece in its war of words with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish leader is coveting Greek territory while Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, fearful Turkey could unleash more refugees, has stayed largely silent, leaving it to others in the government to speak out.
Steinmeier, speaking to the newspaper Kathimerini, said Turkey could benefit from its swap deal with the European Union over the refugee crisis even though Erdogan said the terms haven’t been met by Europe as the deal stands suspended because Greece can’t handle an overwhelming number of asylum applications.
In an exclusive interview published in Sunday’s Kathimerini, Steinmeier stressed that international laws cannot be contested, adding that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has publicly stated that Turkey feels bound by the Treaty of Lausanne although the Turkish foreign chief also has contradicted himself and said Turkey has some standing.
Questioned about the recent threats by Erdogan to unleash a new wave of migrants towards Europe, Steinmeier said he shared Greece’s fears over that but said Turkey has so far been holding up its end of the suspended bargain.
Germany is the biggest contributor to three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($347.68 billion) propping up the Greek economy, but demanded harsh austerity measures in return.