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Turkiye FM: Greece militarisation of Aegean islands threatens national security 

November 3, 2022 at 1:13 pm

Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Turkiye. [Murat Gök /Anadolu Agency]

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said yesterday that Greece’s militarisation of at least 16 out of its 23 islands in the eastern Aegean Mediterranean Sea threatens Ankara’s security, calling on Athens to comply with international law, Anadolu news agency reported.

“At least 16 of 23 islands in the Aegean Sea, which should have been demilitarised according to agreements, are armed by Greece,” Cavusoglu said during an event organised by the Political, Economic and Social Research Foundation (SETA) in Ankara.

The Turkish top diplomat said Ankara has focused on reviving mechanisms for dialogue with Greece in early 2021, but Athens failed to show the necessary political will to do so, highlighting Greek politicians’ use of anti-Turkish rhetoric to achieve domestic political gains.

He also accused Greece of violating the rights of the Turkish minority in Western Thrace and perceiving the Aegean as a “Greek Sea” while disregarding Turkiye’s rights and interests.

Cavusoglu stressed that his country would not allow Greece to unilaterally increase its territorial waters, saying: “We will certainly not accept such a fait accompli that will make the Aegean Sea a Greek lake.”

“Greece’s use of ten miles of airspace in the Aegean Sea, despite its territorial waters reaching only six miles, is a clear violation of international law,” he added.

He also stressed that Ankara will not accept the agreements demarcating the borders of the exclusive economic zone concluded by Greek Cyprus with Egypt, Lebanon and Israel, saying they violate the rights of Turkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

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