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Aegean: Turkey escalates tension claiming Greece’s president visited an “occupied island”

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.

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  1. Yellow press. But nonetheless a mouthpiece for the Turkish government to spur up nationalistic feelings. They are also making a fuss in Germany and Netherlands where they want to campaign for the Turkish referendum which would give Erdogan more power and a chance to change the constitution. Campaigning abroad is actually against Turkish law. These countries want to prevent Turkey campaigning in their countries. Erdogan equated Germany over this to the Nazis and mentioned Hilter (whom he himself actually admires). Turkish officials went to Germany and one of them made the Grey Wolves symbol. The other day a Turkish minister at a rally called for the kidnapping and murder of German officials if Germany wants to prevent campaigning. A report of the UN human rights commission came out today which said that during July 1025 and December 2016 Turkey committed serious crimes against people in South East Turkey. 2000 people were killed, many tortured and disappeared and between 330,000 and 500,000 people -mostly Kurds- were driven from their home. Yet, some EU countries still want to continue EU negotiations with Turkey.

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      Turks already claimed end of 2015 or end of 2016 that they’ve killed since 2015 5000 “PKK”-troopers.
      It’s also a Kemalist journalist that Berlin is hosting and hyping as the main voice of opposition. One should try to interview him about his love for the mass-murder Ataturk and which island(s) he wants from Greece.
      As far I understood official Turkish policy is about 130 islands and islets “Turkey wants to negotiate about”, some are Dia, Dionisades, Koufonisi, Gaidouronisi and Gavdos but not Paximadi and Spinaloga – guess they’re scared about the both latter, Paximadi may be belongs dynamite-fishermen:) May be also dynamite-fishers went active in the zone protected by NATO against refugees?
      May be Crete should get independent and Turks will have more fun in negotiations