No:70, 8 March 2017, Press Release Regarding The Statements Of The President Of Greece On The Demilitarized Status Of The Aegean Islands.

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 08.03.2017

We note with satisfaction the remarks of the President of Greece to the effect that Greece wants to develop good neighborly relations and sincere ties of friendship with our country.

However, we are surprised and concerned with the statements of the President of Greece in the wake of these positive remarks, which indicate, beyond any doubt, a lack of knowledge on the fundamental principles of international law.

The Lausanne Peace Treaty, taking into consideration the security requirements of Turkey, established a demilitarized status for the Aegean islands. The Paris Peace Treaty even more clearly and precisely defined and sustained this demilitarized status. In sum, the Paris Treaty has created an objective status in favor of Turkey. Therefore, within the framework of international law it is a fundamental right and an obligation for the maintenance of peace and security for Turkey to object to the militarization of these islands, which constitute a threat to the security of our country, by Greece.

Even though such simple and fundamental facts are publicly available to all, Greece attempts to hide behind an imaginary Turkish threat which has no relationship to reality whatsoever and interprets UN Charter arbitrarily not only to erode but also to abolish the demilitarized status of the said Islands and tries to cover it up by an EU veil. This attitude can only be described as apt for those who live in alternative reality and it cannot be qualified as politically wise.

Greece accuses Turkey in the international fora of escalating tensions in the Aegean. However, it might certainly have given a tangible clue to all, first and foremost to the EU member states, who is responsible for escalation of tension in the Aegean, given the fact that the most senior politician representing Greece, a country which sees no harm in systematically violating international law, has resorted to such provocative actions and rhetoric.

Greece makes references to the importance of international law in the resolution of Aegean issues, but when called on to act in line with her own obligations, she conveniently evades doing so. We declare once again to the international public opinion that, despite Greece’s inconsistent attitude and provocative rhetoric, which has become a permanent feature, we will not compromise on our rights and obligations that arise from international law and our commitment to act in accordance with statecraft.

Tahsin Tunç Üğdül Ambassador
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