Turkey once again calls on Greece to demilitarise islands

Hulusi Akar

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has reiterated his country’s demand that Greece demilitarises its Aegean islands off the Turkish coast.

“We [base our demand] on international law. What does the Treaty of Lausanne say? They cannot militarize the islands. As you can see, they have done so,” Akar said in an interview with Hurriyet newspaper. 

Akar also criticised Greece for claiming a 6-mile zone of territorial sea and a 10-mile column of airspace.

“Where is the justice in this?,” Akar said. “We are only defending our rights.”

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias rebuffed the demand with a stiff warning.

He said Greece has long supported Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. But if Ankara failed to tone down what he called its "hostile" actions and "provocative" rhetoric, then Athens was ready to renew its call for EU sanctions against its neighbour state and NATO ally.