Turkey and Greece

Following its anti-diplomatic stance towards Greece through a series of provocations over the last 12 months, Turkey appears to be offering an olive branch albeit deeply embedded in defensive rhetoric in a recently released statement.

On Friday, the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement which claims that “Turkey stands ready to reinvigorate all dialogue channels with Greece, including the exploratory talks and is even prepared to start a new dialogue channel for the Eastern Mediterranean.”

The statement begins by addressing the so-called “issue of violation of the demilitarised status of the Aegean Islands together with the other Aegean disputes with a view to resolve them through dialogue.”

“In doing so we also do not exclude any means of peaceful settlement to be mutually agreed by both sides, including International Court of Justice,” it continued.

The full statement by the Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry:

“The violation of the demilitarised status of the Aegean Islands by Greece since 1960’s is only one of the interrelated issues in the Aegean Sea. The issue in question is about Greece’s systematic violation of her obligations stemming from 1923 Lausanne and 1947 Paris Peace Treaties and as such the breach of international law. Greece avoided this dispute to be brought before the international litigation, by making a reservation on the jurisdiction of International Court of Justice regarding this subject in 1993.

From the very outset, Turkey has regularly and constantly lodged diplomatic initiatives and protested the violation of the demilitarised status of islands by Greece and third countries. We would like to address the issue of violation of the demilitarised status of the Aegean Islands together with the other Aegean disputes with a view to resolve them through dialogue. In doing so we also do not exclude any means of peaceful settlement to be mutually agreed by both sides, including International Court of Justice. As a matter of fact, this was our approach advocated during the course of the exploratory talks held between 2002-2016, which were suspended upon the request of Greece.

As President Erdoğan proposed at his meetings with the Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis in New York and London, Turkey stands ready to reinvigorate all dialogue channels with Greece, including the exploratory talks and is even prepared to start a new dialogue channel for the Eastern Mediterranean. However, instead of responding positively to our proposal and starting to talk to us, Greece as usual, chooses to complain about Turkey to the EU and seeks to find solutions from third parties. This unserious attitude is not compatible with good neighbourly relations. Greece is gravely mistaken, if she thinks that she would obtain results through third countries whenever she faces difficulties.”

A.C.

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