Athens Rejects Claims of NATO ‘Ally’ Turkey to Greek Islands

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference following the cabi
ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Greek government has rejected demands from Turkey that it demilitarize islands in the Aegean Sea, claiming Turkey’s statements regarding the islands are “baseless myths.”

Giannis Oikonomou, a spokesman for the Greek government, rejected claims made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has called on Greece to demilitarize islands in the Aegean which he has claimed have a special status.

Oikonomou labelled Erdogan’s statements, “Ahistorical claims and baseless myths that can neither challenge nor, let alone, substitute international law and international treaties,” the newspaper Ekathimerini reports.

“Absolutely nothing can, in any way, harm our sovereign rights and our national sovereignty. That is why we call on Turkey to stop its provocative tactics and realize that the only way is through responsible and honest talk, in the context of international law,” Oikonomou said.

President Erdogan made his comments on Thursday, claiming that Greece was violating treaties by militarizing islands in the Aegean, stating, “We invite Greece to stop arming the islands that have non-military status and to act in accordance with international agreements.”

“I’m not joking, I’m speaking seriously. This nation is determined,” President Erdogan said and went on to add, “We warn Greece to stay away from dreams and actions that it will regret, and to come to his senses.”

“Turkey won’t give up on its rights in the Aegean, in the same way that it will not stand back from using its rights stemming from international agreements,” he said.

Greece has claimed that Erdogan has deliberately misinterpreted treaties on the militarization of the islands, and stated Greece has the right to defend itself.

Disputes over the Aegean islands are not new and Turkey has coveted the islands as part of the “Blue Homeland” plan, an expansionist doctrine that has argued that Turkey has a strong claim to a major part of the Eastern Mediterranean sea.

Former chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Naval Forces Cihat Yaycı is one of the main theorists behind the “Blue Homeland” doctrine and argued last year that several Agean islands belonged to the Turkish continental shelf.

Tensions have been rising between Turkey and Greece in recent weeks after President Erdogan accused Grek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of trying to block the sale of American fighter jets to turkey after the Greek leader visited the United States last month and announced he would no longer meet with the Prime Minister, nor recognize him.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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