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Athens rebuts Ankara claims about islands

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Athens has dismissed Turkish allegations expressed in a July 13 letter from Ankara to the United Nations regarding the militarization regime of the Aegean islands, as completely unfounded and unsubstantiated, as well as being legally and historically incorrect.

In a letter of response Tuesday signed by Greece’s permanent representative to the UN, Maria Theofili, and addressed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Athens noted that the arguments contained in the Turkish letter that sovereignty over the Greek islands of the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean was ceded to Greece by the Treaty of Lausanne of July 24, 1923 and the Treaty of Paris of February 10, 1947 on the specific and strict condition that they be kept demilitarized, “are not only manifestly unsubstantiated and unfounded but also legally and historically incorrect.”

“Once again we wish to reiterate that sovereignty over the islands, islets and rocks of the Aegean was ceded to Greece definitively and unconditionally by the above Treaties and any interpretation against the letter or spirit of these fundamental Treaties would amount to an unauthorized attempt to unilaterally review and modify them,” said the Greek letter, which went on to give a point-by-point rebuttal to all the Turkish claims.

It added that Turkey’s baseless, in legal terms, attempt to link its allegations of a purported demilitarization obligation of the Greek islands “to the entitlement itself of these islands to maritime zones confirms attempts to negate Greek islands’ continental shelf and exclusive economic zone (EEZ), contrary to article 121(2) of the UNCLOS, which reflects customary international law, and which explicitly provides for the entitlement of islands to all maritime zones.”

Meanwhile, Tuesday, and amid Ankara’s recent moves on Cyprus, the island nation’s President Nicos Anastasiades held talks in Athens with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. They reiterated that both countries will never allow a two-state settlement on the island, which Turkey is pursuing in violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.