Day in, day out, Turkey continues to provoke Greece and escalate tension in the Aegean Sea. Ankara is determined to challenge Greece’s sovereignty either through official statements or through its media. Day in, day out. Daily Sözcü published its Friday front page claiming that Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos visited a …Turkish island that is occupied by Greeks. The President visited the island of Pserimos on Tuesday to celebrate the Independence of Dodecanese. The newspaper uses the Turkish name Keci for Pserimos.
“The Greek President went to the occupied island. They took 18 islands from us and they stage a show,” Sözcü writes and adds that Pserimos (Keci) is opposite of Bodrum and presents a map claiming that the Greeks flag on the island is illegal.
Keci Adasi = Pserimos, Istankoy Adasi = Kos, 6mil = 6 nautical miles, 4 mil = 4 nautical miles
The map graphically presents the Turkish claim that Turkey has a sovereign right over all islands of the Aegean Sea that are within a distance of 6 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. How this claim is verified, when Presimos is part of the continental shelf (black on the map) of the island of Kos is a Turkish interpretation of One Thousand and One Nights fairy tales collection.
In the subtitle, the daily notes that “As long as the government remains silent, the Greek revolts.”
Sözcü belongs to the Kemalist opposition that last autumn started to accuse Erdogan’s government of having handed over to Greece “16 Turkish islands.” In the daily’s front page, the number of islands has rose to 18.
Citing retired colonel Ümit Yalım, a former Secretary General at the Ministry of National Defense, the daily writes about what it calls “the scandal”:
“According to the Treaty of Lausanne, Yalım said, a total of 18 Turkish islands and 1 Turkish rock [probably ‘islet’] under Greek occupation were under the sovereignty of Turkey. The Greek President, ministers and commander-in-chief went to Keci island and the scandal was disclosed when Greek media covered the visit. It is understood that the task of the Turkish Armed Forces was prevented,” Yalim said.
While in Pserimos, President Pavlopoulos sent a message of friendship and good neighborliness to Turkey and urged it to follow the European path. “At the same time, however, we are sending the message that we are here to defend respecting and implementing the international and the European law as a whole,” Pavlopoulos said and underlined “Especially the Treaty of Lausanne, the sovereignty, the borders and, of course, the territorial integrity of Greece, which is at the same time the borders, the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the European Union.”
Ankara’s comment on Pavlopoulos speech came from the Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who said that the Greek President “provokes” and “does not know the basics of the international law .”
Pavlopoulos replied “If you do not understand we can help you…”, while the Greek Foreign Ministry issued a statement telling Turkey “to know the international law means that you don’t violate it.”
Then then front page of Sözcü was published for everyone in Greece to understand what is all about.
Turkish FM Cavusoglu said later on Friday that the “Aegean is a national issue” and revealed that the after the presidential referendum, the government will invite the opposition party leaders in order to draw a united stance on the issue.
Ankara set out to increase tension in the Aegean Sea after Greece’s Supreme Court rejected its request to extradite 8 Turkish soldiers who fled to Greece one day after the failed coup in July 2016.
The Turkish Constitutional Referendum to expand the powers of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled for April 16th 2017. As “national causes” have always had a great impact on the Turkish electorate, tension is expected to escalate until the referendum is over.
PS In this Turkish national mood, I assume, Turkey will soon claim 20 islands…
As we say in Greece Δεν Υπάρχει! [it doesn’t exist!] to describe something that is hard to believe.