Kathimerini Greece Newsroom
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated on Thursday its call on Greece to demilitarize the islands, warning that if Athens does not change its stance, then the debate questioning their sovereignty will begin.
“We sent two letters to the UN. We sent them because Greece is violating the demilitarization regime of the islands. These islands were ceded to Greece by the Treaties of Lausanne of 1923 and Paris of 1947 on the condition of their demilitarization. But Greece has been violating this regime since the 1960s,” he told the TRT television network.
“In the letter we wrote, we mentioned that Greece violates the terms of the treaties, these islands were given under conditions, and if Greece does not change its position, then the sovereignty of these islands is debatable,” he added.
In letters sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last July and September, Turkey for the first time disputed Greece’s sovereignty over its east Aegean islands. Over the years, Turkey has attempted to establish the Aegean as a disputed area and has brought new issues to the table such as so-called gray zones and disputing Greece’s maritime boundaries and airspace.
Experts note that with this latest move, Turkey is piling on another dispute in order to avoid talking about the real issue, which is maritime zones. Turkey has rejected Greece’s proposal to settle maritime boundaries at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and observers believe Turkey’s latest disputation of sovereignty is an elaborate way of avoiding going to the ICJ.