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Politics

Turkey Again Demands Greece Take Troops Off Aegean Islands

ANKARA — Adding to a fusillade of provocations and plans to hunt for energy off Greek islands, Turkey insisted yet again that Greece remove troops from islands near Turkey's coast, after having cited the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that Turkey doesn't recognize.

This came just ahead of a 63d round of exploratory talks, in Ankara, trying to settle differences between the countries after the first 62 rounds over a number of years went nowhere fast.

In a letter sent by its Permanent Representative to the United Nations Feridun Sinirlioglu to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sept. 30, which was seen by Kathimerini, Turkey accused Greece of breaching the demilitarization provisions, including in the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty.

“Greece’s sovereignty over the islands was and remains dependent upon demilitarization. The contention that Greek sovereignty over the Εastern Aegean islands is not linked to the maintenance of their demilitarized status is devoid of legal basis,” said Turkey's complaint, repeating others.

Sinirlioglu’s document was a response to a letter sent by his Greek counterpart Maria Theofili on July 27, the paper said, as he called for the removal of Greek troops from Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Ikaria. “As regards Lemnos and Samothrace they are subject to an even stricter regime, owing to their proximity to the Turkish mainland,” he said.

“By militarizing the islands in question, Greece has forfeited its right to assert the opposability to Turkey of (a series of treaties) and the rights which it claims to derive from them,” the response added.

Citing analysts not named, the paper said Turkey's argument essentially hinges the sovereignty of the Aegean islands to their demilitarization but has no legal basis, as Turkey frequently uses bombast as a tactic, the rhetoric seen as as move against Greece's deal to buy warships from France.

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