Turkey has threatened Greece with a loss of sovereignty over islands in the Aegean

Abdullah Bozkurt/Stockholm
Feb 28, 2024

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has issued a fresh threat to Greece by reiterating his predecessor’s claim that Greece’s sovereignty over islands in the Aegean near the Turkish coastline would be challenged while also signaling that existing treaties regulating the status of the islands would be considered null and void.

He was referring to Greek islands including Mytilene, Chios, Samos, Icaria, Lemnos and Samothrace, while recalling the 1923 Lausanne Treaty and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties, which established the status of the eastern Aegean Islands.

Turkey’s new threat came shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Greece and pledged to enhance friendly and good neighborly relations with Athens.

In a letter to parliament on January 24, Fidan wrote, “The violation of the non-military status of the islands poses a serious threat to the security of Turkey and the region.” He warned that Greece cannot claim sovereign rights over these islands if Athens does not fulfill its obligations arising from the existing treaties.

Fidan’s predecessor, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, issued a similar threat to Greece in February 2022. “These islands were granted to Greece under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty and the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties on the condition that they not be armed. However, Greece began violating this in the 1960s. … These islands were ceded conditionally. If Greece does not stop, the sovereignty of these islands will be called into question. … If necessary, we will issue a final warning,” Çavuşoğlu stated in an interview with state broadcaster TRT.

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