Turks propose removing threat of war on Greece

Turkey should ditch a decade-old policy of viewing any extension of Greek territorial waters as cause for war, in a bid to further improve ties, Turkish Parliament speaker Bulent Arinc said in comments published yesterday. In Athens, Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis described Arinc’s reported remarks as «an important move in the direction of further improving bilateral relations.» The Turkish Parliament debated in June 1995 a proposal giving the government authority to take measures – including military action – against an attempt by Greece to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles in the Aegean. The proposal was approved by acclamation but never brought to a formal vote, although it became a central point in Turkish foreign policy, Arinc explained. «We have to re-evaluate this,» he said. «In this new era, we need to focus on steps that will reinforce friendship.» Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told reporters there was no change in Ankara’s policy, but stressed that he favored resolving disputes through dialogue. «Turkey’s attitude on Aegean problems is clear and a change is out of the question,» he said when asked about Arinc’s proposal. «We want to resolve problems peacefully.» (AFP, Kathimerini)

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