Turkey renews call for demilitarisation of Greek islands in letter to UN

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Another round of exploratory low-level talks between Greece and Turkey concluded on Wednesday, but Ankara has still renewed its calls for the demilitarisation of the eastern Aegean islands.

In a letter sent by its Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Feridun Sinirlioglu, to UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on September 30, Turkey accuses Greece of breaching the demilitarisation provisions of the 1923 Lausanne and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties. 

READ MORE: Exploratory talks between Greece and Turkey conclude amid renewed maritime dispute.

“Greece’s sovereignty over the islands was and remains dependent upon demilitarisation. The contention that Greek sovereignty over the Εastern Aegean islands is not linked to the maintenance of their demilitarised status is devoid of legal basis,” the letter, which was seen by Kathimerini, says.

Sinirlioglu’s document is a response to a letter sent by his Greek counterpart, Maria Theofili, on July 27.

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

Turkey’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Feridun Sinirlioglu.

More specifically, it calls for the removal of Greek troops from the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Ikaria.

“As regards Lemnos and Samothrace they are subject to an even stricter regime, owing to their proximity to the Turkish mainland,” it says.

“By militarising the islands in question, Greece has forfeited its right to assert the opposability to Turkey of [a series of treaties] and the rights which it claims to derive from them.”

Analysts say the argument put forward in the letter, which essentially hinges the sovereignty of the Aegean islands to their demilitarisation, is legally unfounded.

They say that Turkish efforts to stoke tensions between the two sides reflect Ankara’s unease over Greece’s recent defense deal with France.

READ MORE: Greece to buy French warships in multibillion-euro defence deal.

Source: Ekathimerini.

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