In a stern statement late Thursday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu offered Ankara’s first official response to an initiative by Greece’s Deputy Shipping Minister Nektarios Santorinios for economic development on 28 uninhabited Aegean islets.
“We have declared several times that we will not accept possible de facto circumstances that were created by Greek policy on disputed geographical formations,” Muftuoglu said, noting that Santorinios had not named the 28 islets.
Ankara expects prudence from Greece on “such a sensitive matter,” he added.
The comments come at a time when relations between Greece and Turkey are strained.
Recommendations by Greek prosecutors this week against the extradition of Turkish military officers who fled to Greece following Turkey’s thwarted coup in July have not gone down well in Ankara. And, although Greece is keen to avoid putting the officers at risk by returning them to Turkey, a refusal to extradite them is certain to anger Turkish authorities and could have repercussions on Ankara’s deal with the European Union to crack down on undocumented migration across the Aegean.
The Supreme Court is to hear the appeals of the final four of the eight Turkish military officers against their extradition on Friday.