Reiterating a call frequently made by Turkish leaders, Turkey’s Energy Minister Fatih Donmez raised the issue of renegotiating the Lausanne Treaty of 1923, which set out the modern borders between Greece and Turkey.
“With the First World War and the wars that followed, there were some conditions that are not clear and perhaps these laid the foundations of today’s discussions. One of them is Lausanne. But 100 years have passed, I believe that we can sit down to discuss them, to negotiate,” he stated on Monday.
In an interview with Kanal 7, he once again blamed Athens for tensions in the region and the maritime border dispute between the two countries.
“If you see what Greece supports, it is like trapping us on our shores. With God’s help, they will give up their mistakes as soon as possible,” he said.
At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to defend the sovereign rights of Turkey from space to the Blue Homeland – a large area in the Mediterranean over which Turkey believes it should wield influence.
“We are building a strong deterrent infrastructure. As part of our goal of becoming a technology-driven country, from the Blue Homeland to cyberspace and space, we will defend our sovereign rights in every field,” he said.
For its part, Greece reiterated on Monday via government spokesman Stelios Petsas that it is ready to pick up from where the exploratory contacts were interrupted in 2016 on the condition that Ankara de-escalates its tactics of ratcheting up tensions.
Meanwhile, in Greece, the presidential decree on the closing of bays and drawing of straight baselines in the maritime area of the Ionian and the Ionian islands up to Cape Tainaro in the Peloponnese entered into force through its publication in the Government Gazette on Sunday.
The move was described as a necessary step in the process of extending Greece’s western territorial waters.
In a statement on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry said the decree was issued pursuant to the law ratifying the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“The Presidential Decree highlights that Greece reserves the right, as deriving from the Convention on the Law of the Sea, which reflects international customary law.”
Greece’s right to extend its rights in other areas of its territory was also reaffirmed on Monday by Petsas.