Turkey demanded that Greece evacuate its armed forces from the Aegean islands on Tuesday, warning that if the islands are not demilitarized, Turkey will challenge their status.

During a joint press conference with his North Macedonian colleague, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Greece has been developing a military presence on the Aegean islands in contravention of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty and the 1947 Paris Treaty. The islands were given to Greece on the condition that they remain demilitarized, he said.

 

“The accords are in place, but Greece is not adhering to them.” It’s preparing them for battle. “The sovereignty of the islands will be discussed if Greece does not halt this infringement,” he warned. “It’s that obvious.” You’ll follow through on your commitments.”

BACKGROUND

Greece claims that Turkey has purposefully misconstrued treaties concerning armed forces on its eastern islands, and that it has legal reasons to defend itself in the face of hostile measures by Ankara, including a long-standing threat of war if it extends its territorial seas.

Greece claims that Turkey has purposefully misconstrued treaties concerning armed forces on its eastern islands, and that it has legal reasons to defend itself in the face of hostile measures by Ankara, including a long-standing threat of war if it extends its territorial seas.

 

The statements by the Turkish minister came amid a new rise in tensions between the NATO partners, who have a long history of disagreements over a variety of issues, including mineral mining in the eastern Mediterranean and competing claims in the Aegean Sea.

 

Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he would no longer speak with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, expressing his displeasure with remarks made by Mitsotakis during a recent visit to the United States, including suggestions that Congress should block Turkey’s purchase of F-16 fighter jets.

 

Mitsotakis, speaking in Athens, stated that due to the war in Ukraine, prudence was required on both sides of the Aegean.

 

“I believe we are still a long way from that point, from the tensions we had in the summer of 2020,” Mitsotakis said, referring to a period when Greece and Turkey were at odds over gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean.

 

“Today, everyone must exercise restraint. Especially at a time when NATO is confronted with a major challenge in the form of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He stated, “We must be unified.”

 

Cavusoglu stated that Ankara had sent two letters to the UN on the militarized islands problem, and he urged Greece to respond to the letters.

 

The minister alleged that “they are becoming violent because they are unable to respond to the letters.”

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