ATHENS – Beating the same drum again, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu demanded that Greece remove troops from Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast, which would leave them open to invasion Turkey has threatened.
He said that the militarization of at least of 16 of 23 islands has put Turkey’s security at risk and insisted that Greece take them off in accordance with the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that Turkey doesn’t recognize.
During an event organized by the Political, Economic and Social Research Foundation (SETA) in Ankara he said they “should have been demilitarized according to agreements, (but) are armed by Greece,” reported Anadolu agency.
That came after Turkey has said that if would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its maritime boundaries to 12 miles, further cutting off Turkey from the Aegean and East Mediterranean.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stepping up provocations ahead of mid-2023 elections in an apparent attempt to rally his nationalist base and put Turks in an anti-Greek frenzy.
Cavusoglu said that only Turkey has shown the will to try to resolve differences amicably – not noting that Erdogan said he’ll send ships to look for energy off Greek islands and keeps sending fighter jets into Greek airspace.
He also accused Greece of violating the rights of the Turkish minority in Western Thrace and perceiving the Aegean as a “Greek Sea” while disregarding Turkey’s rights and interests, the news site said.
Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey would not allow Greece to unilaterally increase its territorial waters, saying: “We will certainly not accept such a fait accompli that will make the Aegean Sea a Greek lake.”
“Greece’s use of ten miles of airspace in the Aegean Sea, despite its territorial waters reaching only six miles, is a clear violation of international law,” he added, without mentioning Turkey doesn’t recognize those laws.