The Greek foreign ministry late on Sunday strongly refuted a claim by its Turkish counterpart that Greece does not respect the demilitarized status of the islands in the eastern Aegean Sea.
Earlier Sunday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy denounced “the attempts of Greece, our neighbour and ally, to abuse international organizations, including NATO, and draw them into these disputes with the aim of justifying her national positions.” The spokesman added that the attempts are not new.
In response, Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Alexandros Gennimatas stated “such unacceptable and unfounded claims against Greece undermine the stability of the area and the cohesion of the Alliance. Similar claims have absolutely no footing in international law and have been answered appropriately and repeatedly.
“We remind Turkey that the legal status of the Aegean has been expressly and unquestionably clarified by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris. “The latter, however, grants no rights to Turkey, as it is not one of the counterparties,” Gennimatas continued.
“Besides, on the basis of the provisions of (the) United Nations’ Charter, Greece will never give up its right to take appropriate measures to legally defend and protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Furthermore, Turkey is putting forward equally unfounded claims as to the institutional operation of NATO and the carrying out of its operations in the Aegean, which it obstructs unjustifiably,” the Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman added.
“We call upon Turkey to respect its obligations that stem from Article 1 of the Treaty of Washington and Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, and to fully abstain from any threat of use of violence or illegal unilateral actions,” he continued.
“The key condition for stability in our turbulent area is strict implementation of international law and the law of the sea, as it applies and not as Turkey wishes to arbitrarily interpret, unique in the world. Only in this context can honest dialogue take place,” Gennimatas concluded.