Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday referred to the eastern Aegean Imia islets as “Turkish soil.”
Cavusoglu was responding in writing to a question tabled by a Turkish MP regarding the status of islands and islets in the Aegean.
“As long as the AKP is in power there will be no change in the legal and de facto status of islands in the Aegean,” noted Cavusoglu in his statement.
Cavusoglu’s comments followed comments made by the leader of the Turkish Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu in which he accused Greece of occupying 18 islands in the Aegean.
Reacting to Cavusoglu's statement, the Greek foreign ministry issued its own statement on Thursday.
"Greece’s sovereignty over its islands in the Aegean, including Imia, is undisputable and established by international law,” the ministry said, adding that "Irresponsible references to the contrary are provocative," given that the legal status of Aegean islands and islets was determined by a series of international agreements signed last century.
In 1996, Greece and Turkey came close to war over the uninhabited outcrop.