Greece’s foreign ministry has rebuked provocations by its Turkish counterpart on Wednesday stating that the country’s legal regime of the Aegean Sea and Greece's ability to exercise its sovereign rights cannot be put in doubt.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Gennimatas made the statement in response to one made earlier by Turkey's Foreign Ministry accusing Greece of abusing EU environment programs in connection to issues in the Aegean.
The statement reads:
“It is well known that Greece has long been exploiting EU’s environmental programmes, primarily “Natura 2000” with respect to the Aegean issues. Our Ministry released a statement regarding this matter on 31 March 2018. Turkey’s position on this issue was also explained last week to the representative of the EU Delegation.
However, this time, Greek President Pavlopoulos has made a statement establishing a strained relationship between “Natura 2000” network and borders and territory. These statements do not bear any legal effect. Moreover, such statements are of a confessional character demonstrating that Greece simply abuses EU’s environmental programmes such as “Natura 2000” according to its political expediency.
Turkey, as has been the case until today, as well as hereinafter, 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.
We renew our warning to the EU not to become a tool of Greece’s political exploitations.”
Gennimatas said that "the legal regime in the Aegean Sea, and furthermore, the right of Greece to exercise its sovereignty rights that stem from international law, which of course includes the outlining of areas with protected ecosystems, cannot be questioned."
"Turkey just recently reiterated its intention to stay on course for induction into the European Union. It is obvious that the first thing it must do, if it wants to achieve this, is respect international law and European acquis," said Gennimatas.