“The legal status of Imia is firmly established. Greek sovereignty over Imia is a given and beyond doubt,” Greek Foreign Ministry said on Saturday commenting on an unbelievable statement by the Turkish Foregin Ministry that raises …objections that the Imia islets in the Aegean are included in the “Natura 2000” Environmental Program.
“Turkey is mistaken if it thinks it can violate international law in the Aegean without consequences, as it does in other places in its environs,” the Greek statement continued concluding “We would advise Turkey to measure its words.”
Turkish FM statement issued Sat afternoon
It is reported that Greece has recently adopted law no. 4519 regarding 446 “Natura 2000” regions on land and at sea.
In fact, our country has no objection to general aims and content of the EU’s environmental programs such as Natura 2000, Corine Bird Directive, etc.
However, it is well known that Greece has long been exploiting these programs with respect to the Aegean issues. In this case, Greece is exploiting once again EU’s Natura 2000 program through a national legislation.
Greece, following the Kardak crisis in 1996, included in the Natura 2000 program the Kardak rocks, as well as some islands, islets and rocks in the Aegean Sea whose sovereignty is not ceded to Greece by international agreements.
We officially communicated Turkey’s position on the Greek policies regarding the Natura 2000 and the EU’s environment programs to the European Commission in 1998. We clearly set forth our position on this issue through the statement of our Ministry on 29 April 1998 and the statement of the then Turkish Prime Minister on 30 April 1998. In the following period, we made several other statements, as well as written and verbal demarches before the European Commission.
In this regard, we would like to invite once again Greece to act with common sense. We also would like to remind the EU not to become a tool in the political exploitation efforts by Greece towards the environmental programs.
We take this opportunity to call upon that there is no doubt about the sovereignty of Turkey over the Kardak rocks. Moreover, we will not accept any possible fait accompli to be presented by Greece towards the geographical formations in the Aegean Sea, legal status of which are disputed. Lastly, we would like to reiterate that the Greek Law no. 4519 will not bear any legal effect regarding the disputes existing between Turkey and Greece in the Aegean Sea.
It is worth noting that while Turkey considered Imia – which it call Kardak – as “grey zone” since 1996, now it considers the two uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea as part of “Turkish sovereignty.” !!!