Citing Turkiye’s letters to the UN on Eastern Aegean islands classified as demilitarized under longstanding international treaties, the nation’s Foreign Minister on Thursday said Ankara is closely monitoring the situation.
Saying that the islands were placed under Greek sovereignty as part of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties on the condition of demilitarization, Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a televised interview that Greece has been violating this condition for decades, since the 1960s.
Last July, Turkiye’s UN Ambassador Feridun Siniroglu wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres decrying Greece’s “continuous flagrant violations” in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, adding that Greece has run afoul of its “solemn treaty obligations” in those waters, including violations of “basic provisions” in the Lausanne and Paris Peace Treaties that islands ceded to Athens would remain demilitarized.
“If Greece does not end this (remilitarization of islands), the sovereignty of islands will be called into question,” Cavusoglu stressed.
He added that Turkiye will begin discussions on the sovereignty of the islands on international platforms if Greece continues breaching the treaties.
Ukraine and Russia
On the Ukraine-Russia dispute, Cavusoglu said Turkiye, as a side that has good relations with both countries, has taken steps to reduce tensions.
“Our contacts are ongoing. Some of these contacts are visible, some are backstage diplomatic efforts,” he added.
Saying that the real situation of the Ukraine-Russia crisis is tense, fragile, and troubled with the possibility of conflict, he added that the situation is “over exaggerated” by some Western countries.
As Turkiye is on good terms with both countries, its efforts are noticed and appreciated by everyone, he said.
Cavusoglu also commented on the new dialogue process with Israel’s new government, saying that the current Israeli administration’s foreign minister believes in a two-state solution.
He also underlined that the new dialogue process between Turkiye and Israel does not mean “giving up on Palestine’s cause.”
Tensions in Turkiye’s relations with Israel, which rose with the 2010 Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara ship, continue to be affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In late 2021, high-level phone conversations were held between Turkiye and Israel.
On Feb. 3, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced an upcoming visit by the Israeli president to Turkiye set for March.