Greece provoking Turkey by claiming sovereignty over islets, country’s ambassador to the EU says


Greece is provoking Turkey by claiming sovereignty over islets and rocky formations in the Aegean Sea, Turkey's ambassador to the EU, Faruk Kaymakc, has told the Euractiv news website in an interview published Friday.

“Some try to portray Turkey as an aggressive country but what is the point of putting flowers on a rock, on a small islet in the Aegean Sea? Why do we need that? What is the point of putting a Greek flag on an island where there is no one? And what is the point of flying over these small islets and rocks, which are not even inhabited? These actions will not satisfy any claim of sovereignty but just cause provocations,” Kaymakc said adding that until the delimitation between the interested parties has been agreed, “no one can claim any territory or territorial waters in disputed areas.”

“Flowers, flags or even picnics on these islets are provocations and we don’t want these,” he said.

Greece's longstanding position – which it says is based on international law – is to bring the issue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for resolution. But given that Turkey has not recognized the Court’s jurisdiction, Athens argues that a special agreement would be required to create a legal basis for the ICJ’s jurisdiction.

Asked about Cyprus’s hydrocarbon-related activites in the Eastern Mediterranean, which are being blocked by Turkey, Kaymakc said that “[Greek Cypriots] can do whatever they like in their own exclusive economic zone.”

However, Kaymakc added: “Turkey will not allow any illegal activity in its exclusive economic zone. The same thing applies for the Turkish Cypriots. We will stand by them.”