Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was adamant Tuesday that Turkey must prove its commitment to international law starting with its withdrawal of the threat of war (casus belli) against Greece if it proceeds with its legal right to extend its territorial water, and to recognize that its maritime border accord with Libya is non-existent.
Speaking to the press following a meeting with visiting Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud, Dendias said Turkey could prove its credentials regarding international law by taking up his “very simple proposal.” He made his remarks amid a recent escalation of Turkey’s aggressive rhetoric against Greece, which, as he said, “has taken on dimensions that we had not seen for years.”
“The Turkish government has committed itself to a constant distortion of the truth and every notion of international law, including the Law of the Sea,” he said, stressing that Turkey has deployed the largest landing force in the Mediterranean and “at the same time requires us to demilitarize our islands.” This would be tantamount, he said, to Greece renouncing the recognized right of self-defense, as provided for in the United Nations Charter. Dendias described the Turkish government’s attitude on the issue as the “epitome of absurdity.”
Referring to the talks he had with his Saudi counterpart, he noted that “the two countries are committed to the defense of the international Law of the Sea and freedom of navigation.” Dendias also highlighted the close ties between the two countries in many areas, from defense to investment. He revealed, among other things, that a delegation from Saudi Arabia will soon visit Alexandroupoli in northern Greece to discuss investment issues.
For his part, Prince Faisal bin Farhan al Saud insisted his country is “interested in strengthening defense, cultural and trade relations with Greece.”