German Minister defends Lausanne Treaty, says Turkey can benefit from migrant deal

German Minister defends Lausanne Treaty, says Turkey can benefit from migrant deal

As Turkey continues to fuel tensions with Greece over matters of territorial integrity, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has told Kathimerini that the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne, which set out the modern borders between Greece and Turkey, are indisputable, adding that Ankara stands to benefit from its agreement with the European Union to tackle the refugee crisis.

In an exclusive interview published in Sunday’s Kathimerini, Steinmeier stressed that international laws cannot be contested, adding that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has publicly stated that Turkey feels bound by the Treaty of Lausanne.

Questioned about the recent threats by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to unleash a new wave of migrants towards Europe, Steinmeier said he shared Greece’s concerns about a new influx across the Aegean but that, rhetoric aside, Turkey has been honoring its side of the pact.

He also expressed Berlin’s support for Athens’s ongoing efforts to tackle the migration crisis, noting that Germany was the first European country to send humanitarian aid for refugees in Greece.

He added that he had personally intervened, during a crisis summit in Brussels earlier this year, to ensure that Greece remain part of the Schengen zone.

As regards Greece’s bailout, Steinmeier said he was impressed by the level of reform carried out by the current government and said he believed the continuation of that reform effort could resolve an impasse with the International Monetary Fund, which has yet to decide whether to join the third bailout.

According to sources, in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed his concerns about Ankara exploiting the refugee crisis and a rift between the EU and Turkey over the latter’s response to a failed coup in July to press Athens on long-standing territorial claims.

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