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Turkish belligerence towards Greece continues

Both the Turkish government and the “opposition” continue to lay claim over Greek islands in the Aegean

Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

Responding in the Turkish parliament to a question submitted by a member of the “opposition” Republican Party, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu continued his government’s recent series of aggressive statements towards Greece by claiming there were no clearly-defined maritime boundaries in the Aegean Sea.

Specifically, Cavusoglu stated that “the sovereignty of some islands and rocky islands and the sea borders around them in the Aegean Sea have not been established by any existing international agreement between Turkey and Greece, and it is true that due to this fact a series of problems arise.” The question posed by the opposition MP pertained to the status of 18 islands and one islet in the Aegean.

Not to be outdone, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the “social democratic” opposition party CHP stated earlier this week that “[w]e always support a solution through dialogue. In the Aegean there are 156 islands and islets which belong to Turkey and their militarization is not right.”

These claims follow in the footsteps of statements made by Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan questioning the Treaty of Lausanne, under which Greek-Turkish boundaries were set, and come in the wake of an increase in Turkish aggressiveness in the Aegean. Turkish violations of Greek maritime waters and airspace are a daily occurrence, while the Greek islet of Imia, claimed by Turkey, has been closed off to Greek vessels by Turkish naval and coast guard ships. Recently, a Greek coast guard vessel was damaged near Imia after being rammed by a Turkish ship.

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