Turkish Foreign Ministry Says NATO Shouldn’t Use Ports on Eastern Aegean Islands



The town of Mytilene on Lesvos in the Eastern Aegean Sea. File photo

Hami Aksoy, the spokesman representing the Turkish Foreign Ministry, issued a long statement on Sunday in which Turkey claims that Greece does not respect the demilitarized status of the islands of the Eastern Aegean Sea.

The Turkish official also says that NATO warships and vessels whichare operating in the Aegean Sea should not use the ports of the Eastern Aegean islands for visits and refueling.

Aksoy notes that the eastern Aegean islands were placed under a special status in a number of international treaties, including the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the Treaty of Paris in 1947.

The Turkish official claims in his statement that these treaties are legally binding and therefore, they impose legal responsibilities upon Greece to demilitarize these islands.

Aksoy calls on Greece to give up its quest to ”de facto” change the status of these islands.

The statement concludes by calling on Greece to behave in a way which would solve the bilateral problems in a constructive way.

This new statement comes less than two days after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that stability in Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean will come about only by protecting the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.