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Turkish PM blames Greece for Aegean tension

TAGS: Turkey, Defense, Diplomacy

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has once more attempted to raise questions about Greek sovereignty over parts of the Aegean Sea, saying that tension would be avoided if Athens stopped considering it as an entirely Greek sea.

“The fundamental source of tension between Turkey and Greece is the Greek understanding of the Aegean as an entirely Greek sea, disregarding Turkey’s legal rights and legitimate interests as a coastal state,” Yildirim said in an interview with Greek weekly To Vima on Sunday.

“The avoidance of tension in the Aegean cannot be achieved with Turkey’s efforts only. Each side knows the sensibilities of the other. We need to understand that calm is in the interest of both sides,” he said.

Asked about the issue of the two Greek soldiers who were arrested on March 1 by Turkish authorities for accidentally crossing the border in northeastern Greece while on patrol in bad weather, the Turkish prime minister said it was “unreasonable to expect preferential treatment” for the two given that they violated Turkish law.

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