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Politics

During Detente, Turkey Challenges Greece’s Sovereignty of Aegean Islands

ATHENS – While there’s been an easing of tensions between the countries, Turkey said that Greece’s positioning of troops on some Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast violates peace treaties and said their sovereignty could be challenged.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan referred to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne – which doesn’t recognize but invoked in this case – and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty and those could be considered null and void by Turkey over the issue, said Nordic Monitor.

Turkey has threatened Greece with a loss of sovereignty over islands in the Aegean

In a letter to Parliament he wrote that, “The violation of the non-military status of the islands poses a serious threat to the security of Turkey and the region.” He warned that Greece cannot claim sovereign rights over these islands if Athens does not fulfill its obligations arising from the existing treaties.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has openly coveted return of some islands ceded to Greece under the 1923 treaty, some of them so close to Turkey’s shore that roosters can be heard crowing, and the distance swimmable to skilled swimmers.

Fidan’s predecessor, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had said that, “These islands were ceded conditionally. If Greece does not stop, the sovereignty of these islands will be called into question. … If necessary, we will issue a final warning.”

Fidan’s letter noted that “when the islands were transferred to Greece, the condition of demilitarization was imposed. Turkey has objected to Greece’s militarization of the islands. The matter is raised on appropriate occasions at international platforms such as NATO and OSCE, urging Greece to adhere to its contractual obligations.”

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