The European Council decided to postpone the special meeting planned for September 24 and 25 to discuss sanctions against Turkey just minutes after Turkey announced a new NAVTEX that violates Greece’s maritime space.

Turkey under an hour ago announced a new NAVTEX (Navigational Telex) around the northern Aegean island of Lemnos, as previously reported by Greek City Times.

NAVTEX is a maritime communications system that allows ships to inform other vessels about their presence in an area and serve as a warning to other vessels to steer clear of an area.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council, was in close contact with a security officer that tested positive for COVID-19.

Although Michel tested negative yesterday, he has gone into quarantine as of today, and decided the meeting will be moved to October 1 and 2.

However, many Greek social media users are highlighting the suspicious timing of the announcement that Michel went into quarantine.

Some believe that the timing of the announcement, just moments after Turkey created a new provocation against Greece by announcing a NAVTEX in the maritime space of Lemnos, is to give time to the Turks to once again “de-escalate” tensions with Greece to avoid tensions.

The EU has desperately attempted it could do to avoid placing sanctions on Turkey, and to many in Greece, the postponement of the special meeting is another signal of this, especially as it was announced just moments after Turkey renewed its hostilities against Greece.

Michel also took a COVID-19 test yesterday that came out negative, but decided he will follow the Belgian protocol with quarantine. Social media users questioned why he did not announce the postponement yesterday but immediately after the teleconference he had with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan one hour ago?

In addition, the Turkish NAVTEX to violate Greece’s maritime space around Lemnos is due to end on the very same day the two-day meeting was supposed to begin, bringing even greater suspicion to Greek social media users.

Despite Turkey continually claiming that it wants dialogue and de-escalation, it has claimed that it declared the new illegal NAVTEX in response to the militarisation of the island that goes against the Treaty of Lausanne.

This is contrary to international law as the demilitarised status of Lemnos was annulled by the 1936 Montreux Treaty, which, as it categorically stated in its preamble, replaced in its entirety the aforementioned Lausanne Treaty, as previously reported by Greek City Times.

Greece’s right to militarise Lemnos and Samothrace was recognized by Turkey, in accordance with the letter sent to Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas on 6 May 1936 by the Turkish Ambassador in Athens at the time, Roussen Esref, upon instructions from his Government. The Turkish government reiterated this position when the then Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tevfik Rüştü Aras, in his address to the Turkish National Assembly on the occasion of the ratification of the Montreux Treaty, unreservedly recognised Greece’s legal right to deploy troops on Limnos and Samothrace, with the following statement:

“The provisions pertaining to the islands of Limnos and Samothrace, which belong to our neighbor and friendly country Greece and were demilitarised in application of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, were also abolished by the new Montreux Treaty, which gives us great pleasure” (Gazette of the Minutes of the Turkish National Assembly, volume 12, July 31/1936, page 309).

In exchange for the militarisation of the Greek islands as permitted by the Montreux Treaty, the Turks were able to militarise the Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits that they previously were not able to do because of restrictions in the Treaty of Lausanne, rendering the Turkish claim that the new NAVTEX is in response to the militarisation of Lemnos a farce.

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