The Turkish foreign ministry reacted on Thursday with a statement to Greek government plans to create incentives and conditions in order to make dozens of Greek islets in the Aegean inhabitable in efforts to avert Turkish territorial claims.
“We have declared several times that we will not accept possible de facto circumstances that were created by Greek policy on disputed geographical formations,” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Huseyin Muftuoglu said, adding that Alternate Shipping and Island Policy Minister Nektarios Santorinios had not named the 28 islets in the plan.
Greek Foreign Ministry officials in the meantime reiterated that “the status of the Aegean is clear and not subject to debate”.
Santorinios presented the plan in a document sent to parliament this week which involves the creation of marine reserves, underwater archeology parks and small-scale infrastructure projects with the aim to foster the conditions that would allow economic growth and attract inhabitants to the islands.
Turkey has repeatedly questioned Greece’s sovereignty over a number of uninhabited islets and rock formations in the eastern Aegean ‘testing’ the country’s tolerance with continuous Turkish fighter jet violations of Greek airspace. Relations between the two countries are further strained as the Greek Supreme Court is set hear the appeals of the final four of the eight Turkish military officers against their extradition today. At the same time, crucial Cyprus talks are taking place in Geneva.