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Politics

Turkish Journalist Says Greece Occupying 18 Turkish Islands

A Turkish newspaper, following the line of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said he covets the return of islands ceded to Greece in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne he won't recognize, said Greece is unlawfully occupying it claimed belong to Turkey. 

In the paper Sözcü, tied to the founder of the modern Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who presided when Smyrna in Anataoli was burned and Greeks slaughtered almost a century ago, writer Sayg? Öztürk said that, “Greece is getting ready to train its soldiers with real bullets on our islands in the Aegean,” claiming that the islands of Pserimos and Agathonisi , inhabited solely by Greeks, are actually Turkish.

He added that, “in the Aegean, Greece, which occupies 18 Turkish islands and two Turkish islets, armed 16 islands despite the treaties,” repeating claims the government made even as it cited the United Nations Law of the Sea that Turkey doesn't recognize.

Erdogan has been increasing provocations in the Aegean and East Mediterranean even during the COVID-19 pandemic, having Turkish energy ships drill off Cyprus and planning to do the same off Crete under a maritime deal with Libya dividing the seas.

The UN doesn't recognize that agreement, nor does any other country but Turkey has put out maps showing it owns Greek seas and part of Greece's Continental Shelf under laws it doesn't recognize except invoking them in Turkey's favor. 

While the Treaty of Lausanne said islands must be demilitarized, Erdogan doesn't accept the terms of the 97-year-old agreement except for parts he believes are on his country's side.

The Turkish claims to the “disputed” islands are mostly over Dodecanese Islands which were ceded to Greece from Italy at the end of World War II with the Paris Peace Treaties of 1947, the Sydney-based Greek City Times wrote in its review of the flap. 

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