‘Beyond logic’: Greece rejects Turkey’s renewed demand for demilitarisation of islands

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Greece has again rejected Turkey’s latest demand to demilitarise its islands, saying they “go beyond simple logic.”

Earlier on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated his country’s call on Greece to demilitarise islands in the east Aegean, 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 demilitarisation 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 demilitarisation. But Greece has been violating this regime since the 1960s,” Cavusoglu told the TRT television network.

READ MORE: Turkey renews call for demilitarisation of Greek islands in letter to UN.

“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.”

Greece absorbed the islands of Limnos, Samothrace, Lesvos, Samos, Chios and Ikaria from the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. It was officially awarded sovereignty over them in the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923.

Another treaty drawn up in London in 1914 had made Greek possession of the islands conditional on their demilitarisation.

Turkey says that since the Lausanne Treaty makes reference to the 1914 treaty, it implies the same conditionality. Greece rejects that interpretation.

In fact, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexandros Papaioannou, said on Thursday that they reject “in their entirety” the “latest accusations of Turkish officials about the status of the Aegean islands.”

“These accusations not only do not comply with basic principles of international law, but they also go beyond simple logic. The Greek position on this issue has been expressed repeatedly and publicly,” Papaioannou said.

Athens has sent a letter on this issue by Greece’s Permanent Representative to the UN to the Secretary General. 

READ MORE: Turkey issues fresh NAVTEX warnings demanding demilitarisation of 6 Greek islands.

Source: Ekathimerini.

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