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Greeks outraged by Turkish President’s remarks: “We gave away the Greek islands”

September 30, 2016

Greek politicians and diplomats, along with Greeks around the world- have been outraged by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks about the Lausanne Treaty, calling them an attempt to call into question the existing borders between two countries and the status of the Greek islands, according to Greek media reports.

Erdogan claimed that some have tried to pass off the peace treaty as a victory, as it essentially settled conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Allied States of Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Greece and Romania after World War I.

The Treaty of Lausanne was signed on July 24, 1923, by Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Greece, Romania, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and Turkey. It set the current borders of Turkey, documenting the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

“They (threatened) us with Sevres in 1920 and persuaded us to accept Lausanne in 1923. Some tried to deceive us by presenting Lausanne as a victory. At Lausanne, we gave away the Greek islands you could shout across to,” said Erdogan on Thursday at his 27th gathering of village chiefs in Ankara.

“We are still struggling about what the continental shelf will be and what will be in the air and land. The reason for this is due to those who sat at the table during that treaty. Those who sat there did not do us justice and we are reaping those troubles right now. If the (recent) coup had succeeded, they would have given us a treaty that would have made us long for Sevres.”

He added that Turkey surrendered islands to Greece, where there were Turkish sanctuaries and mosques. Greece’s media has reported (citing the country’s diplomatic sources) that the Treaty of Lausanne had been recognised by the entire civilised world and Turkey could not challenge it. Greek political parties also came out condemning Erdogan’s remarks.

Erdogan’s comments come amid reports that Ankara is pushing for the abolition of NATO patrols in the Aegean that have been contributing to curbing illegal migration.

According to sources, Ankara made an official request for the termination of the patrols earlier this month at a session of the North Atlantic Council, noting migrant influx has slowed considerably in recent months.

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This post was last modified on September 30, 2016 10:31 am