The Turkish Defense Minister called on Wednesday for the demilitarization of sixteen Aegean islands, claiming that Greece is violating international agreements. Athens quickly responded by accusing Ankara of hypocrisy.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said “the islands near the cost of Turkey,” which he did not name, were illegally militarized.
“We expect Greece to act in line with international law and the agreements it has signed,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency cited Akar as saying in Ankara.
Turkey claims that the militarization of the Eastern Aegean Islands was restricted in the Treaty of London in 1913, and their demilitarized status was confirmed in the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923. The 1947 Treaty of Paris, which ceded the Dodecanese from Italy to Greece, also confirmed this demilitarized status.
Athens responded to Akar’s claims, saying that the Greek islands are legitimately defended, a right which is enshrined in various international treaties.
A statement issued by the Greek Foreign Ministry charges that Turkey is acting in a hypocritical manner in invoking international law.
“It is at least hypocritical for a country that systematically violates the territorial integrity, sovereignty and sovereignty of almost all of its neighboring countries, a country that threatens a neighbor and an ally with war, to invoke international law,” the statement reads.
“This country [Turkey] does not understand why its neighbors are obliged to take every measure for their legal defense throughout their territory, a right enshrined in the UN Charter itself,” the statement concludes.