Greece must withdraw its military from the Aegean islands or Turkey “will take matters further,” if Athens failed to do so, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned on Thursday. Ankara is prepared to challenge their sovereignty, he added.
“We are not bluffing. If Athens does not comply, we will take matters further,” Turkish daily Cumhuriyet cited Cavusoglu as told reporters on a flight back from a visit to Jerusalem and the West Bank.
“It is against international law for Greece to cancel the status of the islands conditionally given to it within the framework of the 1923 Lausanne and 1947 Paris peace agreements. Whatever reason Greece finds, its justification is not valid. What were the terms? It will not arm these islands. Greece has armed them since 1960, so we say that if it doesn’t yield, we will start a debate on their sovereignty,” Cavusoglu said.
Çavuşoğlu reiterated Ankara’s stance that it was “against international law for Greece to cancel the status of the islands conditionally given to it within the framework of the 1923 Lausanne and 1947 Paris peace agreements,’’ according to Cumhuriyet.
The Turkish official said that Greece’s justification was not valid and Turkey was ready to begin a debate on their sovereignty if Greece failed withdraw its military from the islands in question.
Cavusoglu’s threats come a day after Greece sent a letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres in which it “legally and historically ” and based on the Treaty of Lausanne and Paris refutes the Turkish claims.