The President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, visited the remote island of Agathonisi in the northernmost of the Dodecanese in the eastern Aegean Sea. The visit triggered the usual yet baseless Turkish claims that “the island belongs” to Turkey and “it is occupied by Greece.”
“Greece is historically seeking to have good neighborly relations and cooperation with Turkey and invests in the peaceful co-existence and the cooperation between the peoples,” the Greek President said during her visit to Agathonisi on Monday.
“However, it is not disposed to relinquish its sovereign rights or to accept questioning of its national territory,” Sakellaropoulou stressed.
“The guarantee of peace, safety and stability in the southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean is the main pillar of our national strategy,” she said and added that “our country respects the international law and the international treaties and seeks a constructive relation with its neigbours. In parallel, it is determined to defend in any possible way and whenever needed, it national integrity and its sovereign rights,” she added.
“I want from this remote area of Greece to send a message of national confidence and of national pride as the residents of Agathonissi, who are the stable custodians of the borders, not only of the Greece but of Europe, did” she underlined.
Sakellaropoulou visited the military post on the island and the local school where she chatted with the nine pupils and the teachers.
Within hours Turkish nationalist media claimed that “the Greek President provoked Turkey by visiting Esek (Agathonisi) with helicopter.”
“The island belongs to the Prefecture of Aydin” they wrote claiming that it is “occupied by Greece.”
Tuesday morning, Ankara sent F-16 fighter jets to violate Greek air space and conduct overflights over Agathonisi and the neigboring Farmakonisi.