Athens on Thursday again pointed to international law and the UN charter in responding to the latest round of Turkish saber-rattling over Aegean sovereignty and maritime issues, with Turkey’s defense minister over the weekend merely reiterating the oft-repeated threats and unilateral claims employed by Ankara over the past four decades.
In a statement posted on the Greek foreign ministry’s website, Athens notes that “..The delimitation of the Greek Exclusive Economic Zone, in its totality, shall be determined on the basis of International Law and certainly not by taking into account non-existent and arbitrary theories adopted by Turkey, a violator of International Law.
Regarding issues of demilitarisation, the well-known positions of Greece stem exclusively from International Law and the UN Charter and leave no room for doubt.
Greece is not going to be drawn into an exchange in aggressive rhetoric… We call upon our neighbour Turkey to act with due seriousness and commitment to the principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations”.
The latest round of “official tension” came in the wake of an announcement by outgoing Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias, namely, that Athens would extend territorial waters from six to 12 nautical miles. Kotzias made the abrupt statement at a handover ceremony last week, where he turned over the portfolio to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Kotzias resigned a day after an acrimonious argument with right-wing Defense Minister Panos Kammenos at a closed-door Cabinet meeting.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar over the weekend repeated Ankara’s threats to use military force to prevent Greece from exercising its sovereign rights under international law (UNCLOS), saying it will “take all necessary measures in the eastern Aegean”.
He also referred to “supposed lines that the Greeks unilaterally draw”, and said no exploitation in the eastern Mediterranean is possible without Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state that only Turkey recognizes – an entity on the one-third of the island republic that the Turkish military continues to occupy.