ANKARA — The man behind Turkey's Blue Homeland Doctrine which claims Greek waters – Retired Rear Adm. Cihat Yayci, said some 152 islands, islets and rocky formations that Greece claims are in dispute, the same as the seas around them.
Turkey had an energy research vessel, the Oruc Reis, and warships off the Greek island of Kastellorizo before pulling them out ahead of a Dec. 10-11 EU meeting which otherwise could bring sanctions.
Turkey said a deal it made with Libya – which no other country recognizes – allowed it to claim parts of the Aegean and East Mediterranean around Greek islands, including Crete, where the US Navy has a base on Souda Bay.
Yayci, in an interview with Kathimerini, said that Turkey’s continental shelf extends to the medial line of the Aegean Sea, while questioning Greek sovereignty over islands.
The Turkish Navy’s former Chief of Staff defended the 2019 Turkey-Libya deal, reiterating Turkish claims that islands do not have a continental shelf.
“Turkey was not being maximalist; it drew a line that does not touch Rhodes, Kassos, Karpathos or Crete,” he also said.
He said, however, there was a “wrong impression that Turkey plans to take over the islands,” which include islets and rocky formations he said don't belong to Greece. “We do not claim them, we simply say that (they) have not been ceded to Greece – let’s discuss this.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gone farther, however, saying he covets return also of islands ceded to Greece in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne he doesn't recognize, some of them so close to Turkey he said he could shout to them.