Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias today called upon Ankara to cease its efforts at escalating Greek-Turkish tensions after his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, again asserted that Greece’s sovereignty over a number of Eastern Aegean islands is contingent upon Athens’ removal of its defensive military forces.
“It has been proven even to the most incredulous how right we are when we say that Turkey is threatening us,” Dendias said.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis briefed fellow EU leaders at a summit in Brussels today on Turkey’s provocations and threats, and French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his full support for Athens as it confronts Turkish threats to its sovereignty.
Less than a week after Greece’s ambassador to the UN, Maria Theofili, sent a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in which she deconstructed Ankara’s legal argument regarding an obligation to demilitarise the islands, Cavusoglu again disputed Greek sovereignty over the islands.
“Greece has violated status of the eastern Aegean islands, so Greece must disarm these islands. Otherwise, the sovereignty debate will begin,” Cavusoglu said today in an interview with Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.
Dendias ‘understands Ankara’s annoyance’
Dendias maintained that the challenges and sharp, threatening rhetoric of top Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, derive from the fact that Ankara is bereft of solid legal arguments to back up its demand for demilitarisation of the Greek islands.
“I absolutely understand Turkey’s annoyance over Greece’s letter to the UN [Secretary General]. In it, we answered Turkish claims in an absolutely convincing and legally well-grounded manner. I think what the Turkish side needs to do is to avoid insults, name-calling, and continual escalation, which lead nowhere,” Dendias said.