The decision to extend its territorial waters is Greece’s sovereign right, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexandros Gennimatas said on Tuesday, in response to press questions on official Turkish statements.
Gennimatas was asked to comment on statements earlier in the day by his Turkish counterpart, who had said that Turkey’s stance on the plan to extend territorial waters was conveyed to the Greek ambassador in Ankara, when he went to the Turkish Foreign Ministry earlier in the day for a meeting scheduled since Friday.
The Turkish spokesman had further said that Turkey cannot accept decisions on issues related to the Aegean Sea, where both countries have coastlines, for which there is no bilateral agreement, and he referred to a June 8, 1995 warning issued by the Turkish Parliament still in effect.
Gennimatas said that the right to extend territorial waters (currently at 6 miles) is a legal and inalienable sovereign right of Greece that is based on international law. This right is not open to doubt or negotiation by third parties, he said, and obviously holds true for the entire country.
Arbitrary interpretations of international law and threats of violence by Turkey, such as challenges to the country’s legal rights, cannot change this fact or contribute to good neighborly relations, the Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Cavusoglu attributes Greek talk on territorial waters to populism
Turkish Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responded on Tuesday to an announcement last week by Greece’s former foreign minister that the country is ready to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in its western flank, attributing the move to populism.
“Greece often makes such announcements to cause tension or in a populist framework”, Cavusoglu was quoted as saying in an interview with state-run Anadolu news agency.
He said Turkey is in favor of a peaceful solution to the existing problems between the two countries adding that Greece is the one stoking tensions in the Aegean.
Cavusoglu reportedly also reiterated Ankara’s threats to go to war (casus belli) if Athens extends its territorial waters in the Aegan from 6 to 12 nautical miles.
Earlier in the day, Turkish media reported that the Greek Ambassador to Ankara, Petros Mavroidis, had been summoned at the Turkish foreign ministry.
They did not give further details about the meeting, which two Greek government sources said had been scheduled.
Sources: AMNA, Kathimeriki