The European Union has stated that there is no question of Greece’s sovereignty over its islands in the East Aegean on Sunday.
Lead Spokesperson for External Affairs, Peter Spano, released a statement following the recent comments by Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, calling for the demilitarisation of the islands.
“Comments by Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in a recent interview, disputing Greece’s sovereignty over some of its islands, are counterproductive and contradict de-escalation efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean called for in the Conclusions of the European Council from 23 March and 24-25 June 2021,” the statement reads.
“Greece’s sovereignty over these islands is unquestionable. Turkey should respect it, refrain from provocative statements and actions in this regard, commit unequivocally to good neighbourly relations and work to settle any disputes peacefully. International agreements must be respected.”
This statement comes after Cavusoglu recently reiterated Turkey’s call on Greece to demilitarise the islands, warning that if Athens does not change its stance then the debate questioning their sovereignty will begin.
On Sunday, Greek Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, also held talks with the Vice President of the EU Commission, Josep Borrell Fontelles, where he discussed these provocative statements and current developments in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Greece and Turkey have long been at odds over a series of disputes, including territorial rights in the Aegean Sea and over energy exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Tensions heightened between the NATO allies in 2020 over exploratory drilling rights in areas in the Mediterranean where Greece and Cyprus claim as their own exclusive economic zone.