Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu once again expressed doubts about the sovereignty of the Greek islands, noting at the same time that Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Nikos Dendias “are trying to increase tensions in the Aegean Sea, and this is dangerous.”
At a press conference on the year’s report, the Turkish Foreign Minister said: “In our relations with Greece, we have not shown tolerance for hostile actions against our country. We left no gaps either in diplomacy or on the ground on such important issues as the problem of demilitarization of the Aegean islands. Also in the letter that we sent to the UN, we recorded that in case of violation of the regime of demilitarization of the Aegean islands, their sovereignty is disputable. ”
At the same time, Tsavusoglu voiced claims against Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Dendias, noting that “the efforts of the Greek Prime Minister, as well as the Foreign Minister, to artificially increase tensions in the Aegean Sea are dangerous to peace and stability. Our position on this issue is clear, as is our determination. “
Also, the foreign minister of the neighboring country touched upon Ankara’s relations with Egypt. “We can talk with Mr. Sukri (Egyptian Foreign Minister) on various issues, we feel comfortable. If Egypt signs an agreement defining maritime areas of responsibility, it will have a large maritime area of responsibility in the Mediterranean. As a continental shelf and as an EEZ, whatever is preached there. ” He added that “there was no official conversation about this.”
Turkey states that the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty require that Greece’s Aegean islands remain demilitarized. It states that Greece has armed 16 of the 23 islands since 1936, in violation of international law. Greece states that the circumstances have changed dramatically and the restrictions no longer apply. The Lausanne Treaty envisaged the demilitarization of the Greek islands of Limnos and Samothrace, the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus, as well as the Turkish islands of Imbros (Gokceada), Tenedos (Bozjaada) and the Rabbit Islands (Tavshan). The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that this requirement was abolished by the 1936 Montreux Convention, citing the document’s preamble, which stated that Montreux had completely replaced Lausanne.
Greece’s right to militarize Limnos and Samothrace was recognized by Turkey in an official letter sent in 1936 by the Turkish ambassador to Athens. The provisions of the Paris Peace Treaty between Italy and the Allies in April 1947 provided for the demilitarization of the Dodecanese Islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea. In Greece, they believe that since Turkey did not sign this treaty, the demilitarized status lost its meaning of existence with the entry of countries into NATO.