ATHENS – It’s been said so much it’s almost a mantra now but Turkey has – yet again – insisted that Greece take troops off Greek islands near Turkey’s coast, despite Greece repeatedly rejecting that demand.
Despite that, Turkey will “intensify efforts” for the demilitarization of Greece’s islands and is prepared to challenge their sovereignty otherwise, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu indicated, said Kathimerini.
He noted a letter sent earlier this year by Turkey’s permanent representative to the United Nations to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, which stated “Greece’s sovereignty over the islands was and remains dependent upon demilitarization,” suggesting consequences if Greece doesn’t relent.
Cavusoglu said that Turkey is “determined” and will ensure that the necessary steps are taken on this issue,” after citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that Turkey doesn’t recognize unless only to its advantage.
He accused Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias of of “provocative statements,” saying that Greece “want to increase tension in the Aegean,” although it was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan openly coveting return of islands to Turkey ceded away in the treaty some 99 years ago.
“The prime minister used to be a little more sensible. He did not follow in the foreign minister’s provocative footsteps. Now the prime minister seems to be toeing Nikos Dendias’ line for domestic political reasons,” Cavusoglu said of Premier Kyriakis Mitsotakis.