Ankara says Greek officials need permission to visit eastern Aegean islands, cites 953 Greek ‘violations’

After months of declarations from top Turkish government officials that Greece's sovereignty over a number of its islands in the eastern Mediterranean is contingent upon Athens demilitarising them, now Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has reportedly decided that he wishes to forbid Deputy Defence Minister Nikos Hardalias from visiting the said islands without Ankara's permission.

That constitutes a clear Turkish claim to sovereignty over the islands.

The Turkish military indeed declared that a number of Greek islands actually belong to Turkey, and the defence ministry maintained that Athens has this year already violated Turkey's airspace over these Aegean islands and its territorial waters 953 times this year.

Turkish Vice-Admiral voices claim to series of Greek islands

In a move that is bound to severely escalate tensions, Turkish Vice-Admiral Erkan Karakous declared today that the islands of Agathonisi, Farmakonisi, Pserimos, Kinaros, and a number of others, indisputably belong to Turkey.

"Agathonisi is ours, Arkoi is ours, Farmakonisi is ours, Pserimos is ours, Levitha is ours, Kinaros is ours, the islets of Liadi are ours, Syrna is ours, the three islands are ours, Astakida is ours. Oinousses belongs to us, the island of Pasha to us, Thymaina to us and the islet of Gavatha to us. These are ours and are determined by the circumstances. There is no doubt who they belong to," he said.

Turkey as successor to Ottoman Empire claims islands

Turkey claims that as successor to the Ottoman Empire it has sovereignty to all Aegean islands that are not mentioned by name in international treaties.

Until now, Ankara has promulgated the theory of Aegean Grey Zones, under which it claims...

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