Turkey warns Greece not to spoil ‘positive atmosphere’ over Aegean
DHA PhotoTurkey has called on Greece to avoid unilateral action in the Aegean Sea if Athens does not want to harm the “positive atmosphere” between the two countries.
“We maintain the political will and determination needed for a comprehensive and lasting solution to all problems in the Aegean with methods stipulated in the U.N. charter for the peaceful resolution of disputes … based on common interests,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said in a written statement on April 1.
Until those problems are resolved, Bilgiç said it was important “for both of the sides to avoid unilateral attempts that would have a negative impact on peace and stability in the region and would harm the positive atmosphere between the two countries.”
Bilgiç also took umbrage with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos’ recent statement in which he suggested the Aegean was a “Greek Sea.”
“This distorted understanding, which underlines all problems about the Aegean, harms efforts to settle disputes in the Aegean and promote bilateral relations,” said Bilgiç.
The Aegean region has witnessed increasing tension between its neighbors, which particularly escalated after the election of the new Syriza government in Greece in January.
Immediately after assuming the post, Kammenos visited the disputed Aegean islets of Imia/Kardak with a military helicopter on Jan. 30.
Kammenos, the head of Independent Greeks, was appointed defense minister as part of a coalition government under the leading Syriza movement. Although ideologically different from Syriza, the Independent Greeks share its anti-austerity policy.
On March 29, Greek Foreign Ministry spokesperson Konstantinos Koutras elaborated on statements made by Turkish Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz in the Turkish parliament.
“No dispute or point of doubt whatsoever exists with regard to the status of any island or islet in the Aegean or the Eastern Mediterranean. What’s more, international legality is among the foundations of European culture and is not altered by intentions to violate international law or by unilateral statements or actions,” Koutras said.