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Prominent academics, authors urge UK to offer ‘clear message of support’ to Greece, Cyprus

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TAGS: Diplomacy, Turkey, Politics

Twenty-five prominent academics, authors and politicians called on the British government to express its “clear support” to Greece and Cyprus over the increased tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean caused by Turkey’s refusal to accept the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, in a letter to the editor of The Times, published Monday.

The letter also urges NATO member-states to condemn Turkey’s drilling activities, instead of maintaining a policy of equidistance.

The full letter follows below:

Sir,

We too are deeply concerned by President Erdogan’s escalation of rhetoric and threat in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean (Erdogan’s Provocations, leading article, Aug 15). Positive developments in energy are an opportunity to build more productive and stable regional relationships, but require all parties to abide by international law. Other regional governments have shown their willingness to negotiate within the framework set by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Turkish government’s refusal to accept the convention is a stumbling block – a deliberate attempt by Ankara to deprive island states and states with island interests of their rights under customary international law. Mr Erdogan’s policy is fomenting regional tension. European governments, including Britain’s, must give a clear message of support to states such as Greece and Cyprus that are upholding multilateral rules.

Turkey’s NATO allies need to be unequivocal that Ankara’s provocations are not acceptable. A policy of equidistance between Turkey and Greece in this matter is inappropriate. The only feasible way to reduce tension and bring about stability is through respect for UNCLOS and processes of international law.

Kevin Featherstone, Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies, London School of Economics

John Kittmer, former British Ambassador to Greece

Alberto Costa MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Greece

Denis MacShane, former Europe Minister

Lord Wallace of Saltaire, Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office spokesman

Roderick Beaton, Emeritus Koraes Professor, King’s College London

Dame Averil Cameron

Paul Cartledge, Professor of Greek Culture Emeritus, University of Cambridge

Professor Richard Clogg

Louis de Bernières, author

Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History, University of Oxford

Stephen Fry

Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford

Charles Grant, Director, Centre for European Reform

David Harsent, author, Fellow of the Hellenic Authors Society

Judith Herrin, Professor Emerita, King’s College London

Victoria Hislop, author, Honorary Citizen of Greece

David Holton, Emeritus Professor of Modern Greek, University of Cambridge

Will Hutton, Principal, Hertford College Oxford

Michael G. Jacobides, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, London Business School

Peter Mackridge, Emeritus Professor of Modern Greek, University of Oxford

Sean O’Brien, Professor of Creative Writing, Newcastle University

Ruth Padel, Professor of Poetry, King’s College London

Gonda Van Steen, Koraes Professor, King’s College London

Sofka Zinovieff, author

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