BRUSSELS – As did the United States, the European Union supported Greece’s sovereignty over its islands that was questioned by an increasingly-aggressive Turkey which has plans to hunt for oil and gas in waters it disputes are Greek.
The European Commission spokesman for External Affairs Peter Spano put out a statement backing Greek and rejecting claims by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu calling for the demilitarization of the islands near Turkey’s coast.
Spano said that comments “disputing Greece’s sovereignty over some of its islands, are counterproductive and contradict de-escalation efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean called for in the Conclusions of the European Council.”
“Greece’s sovereignty over these islands is unquestionable. Turkey should respect it, refrain from provocative statements and actions in this regard, commit unequivocally to good neighborly relations and work to settle any disputes peacefully. International agreements must be respected,” he concluded.
Cavusoglu repeated constant calls by Turkey for Greece to take troops off the Greek islands, citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t recognize, and as he admits coveting return of those islands to Turkey.