Greece has attempted to abuse international organizations, including NATO, and draw them into Aegean disputes to justify its national positions, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the Eastern Aegean islands were put under demilitarized status by virtue of several international agreements, including the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 and the Treaty of Paris of 1947.
"These Treaties prohibit the militarization of the Eastern Aegean islands. They are in force, and thus, are legally binding for Greece, imposing legal responsibilities on this country," the statement said.
"While the Aegean disputes between Greece and Turkey are actually being addressed through bilateral channels, the attempts of Greece, our neighbor and Ally, to abuse international organizations, including NATO, and draw them into these disputes with the aim of justifying her national positions are not new," it added.
The Foreign Ministry said it was agreed that the military vessels operating in the Aegean Sea under the NATO Activity would refrain from visiting the Aegean islands under demilitarized status according to international law, including with the aim of refueling or port visits.
It added that these vessels may only operate in the Aegean Sea on the basis of diplomatic clearances issued concurrently by Turkey and Greece for specified areas at sea.
"That being the case, Greece’s claims that the NATO activity in the Aegean sea has rendered Turkey’s legitimate position that is fully in accordance with international law 'de facto invalid' are in vain," the statement stressed.
It said that the NATO Activity is being carried out to support the efforts to stem irregular migration due to humanitarian concerns, upon Turkey’s consent.
"On this occasion, we once again renew our call to Greece to put an end to its policy of disregarding international law, historical facts and Turkey’s legitimate rights and interests, and to forgo its efforts to create de facto situations," the statement added.
By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet