Monday, December 5, 2016

The Turkish government escalates provocative rhetoric over Aegean- Comment by the Communist Party of Greece

Rejep Tayyip Erdogan.
Last Wednesday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu referred to the eastern Aegean Imia islets as “Turkish soil.” Cavusoglu was responding in writing to a question tabled by a Turkish MP regarding the status of islands and islets in the Aegean.

“As long as the AKP is in power there will be no change in the legal and de facto status of islands in the Aegean,” noted Cavusoglu in his statement. 

Cavusoglu’s comments followed comments made by the leader of the Turkish Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu in which he accused Greece of occupying 18 islands in the Aegean.

The Greek Foreign Ministry described the comments by Cavusoglu as “irresponsible and provocative” and a violation of international law. In response, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Huseyin Muftuoglu reaffirmed Ankara’s stance. 

“Turkey’s position on her sovereignty over Kardak Rocks [the Turkish name for the Imia islets] is well known by the international community since 1996. There is no change in our policy in this regard.” said Muftuoglu.

On Friday Ankara issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM), ostensibly denying Greece the right to conduct military maneuvers off 11 Greek islands including Lesvos, Chios, Samos and Kastellorizo, just a few hours after issuing a similar notice regarding Greek military maneuvers south of Kasos.

The notices relate to eastern Aegean areas used by the Hellenic Armed Forces for exercises which, Ankara says, are demilitarized zones.

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Regarding the new provocative statements of Turkey's Foreign Minister, the Press Office of the CC of the KKE issued the following comment:
"The new statements of the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs about Imia consist new escalation of the Turkish provocativeness and aggressiveness, they express the steady aspirations of the Turkish ruling class and are connected to the more general framework of the competitions and upheavals in the region of Eastern Mediterranean, where NATO, the USA and the EU play a leading role.
The SYRIZA-ANEL government may express its concern, but on the same time it actively participates in the NATO plans in the region and has proclaimed NATO as a "gendarme" in the Aegean, thus involving the people in dangerous adventures".