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15 June, 2024
 
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Turkey condemns Greece's maritime strategy in Aegean dispute

Ankara protests Athens' Aegean park proposals

By Manolis Kostides

Turkey is once again stirring up controversy over Greek sovereignty of the Aegean islands, this time in response to Athens' plans to establish two marine parks in the Aegean and Ionian seas.

In its statement, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentions "the status of certain islands, islets, and rocky formations whose sovereignty hasn't been handed over to Greece through international agreements."

"We won't tolerate any unilateral actions Greece might take in areas where sovereignty is disputed," the statement continues, while also cautioning the EU:

"We urge third parties, including the EU, not to be drawn into Greece's political manoeuvres regarding its environmental initiatives."

The detailed statement from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads:
"In its announcement, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed plans to designate two new marine parks, one in the Aegean and the other in the Ionian Sea, as part of the Oceans Conference scheduled in Athens.

It's no secret that Greece has been seizing almost every opportunity to assert its interests in the Aegean region. Despite recent improvements in our relations, it seems Greece is now exploiting environmental concerns.

We advise Greece against exploiting Aegean issues and disputes over the status of certain islands, islets, and rocky formations whose sovereignty hasn't been transferred to Greece through international agreements.

We also caution third parties, including the EU, against becoming instruments of Greece's political agenda on environmental matters.

On the other hand, we would like to stress that international maritime law encourages cooperation, including on environmental issues, between coastal states in enclosed or semi-enclosed seas. In this regard, our country remains open to cooperation with Greece in the Aegean.

We would like to reiterate that we won't accept any unilateral actions by Greece in areas where sovereignty is disputed.

We restate that these marine parks will have no legal implications in the context of the ongoing issues between the two countries in the Aegean.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

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