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Turkey difficult sovereignty in Aegean Sea

ATHENS, Greece: Greece has said that Turkey is directly challenging its sovereignty over islands in the eastern Aegean Sea.

Ankara is also pursuing a hostile and “revisionist” policy that is destabilizing the region, Greece charged in a 25th May letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“Greece solemnly calls upon Turkey to stop questioning Greece’s sovereignty over its Aegean islands, in particular through legally baseless and historically false assertions, and to abstain from threatening Greece with war,” the letter stated.

For decades, Greece and Turkey have been in conflict over sea boundaries, but the disagreement flared in 2020 as oil and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean region intensified.

Turkey has demanded that Greece demilitarize its eastern islands, and claims that action is required under 20th century treaties that ceded sovereignty of the islands to Greece.

The Greek government has called the demand a deliberate misinterpretation and has accused fellow NATO member Turkey of being increasingly hostile throughout the area.

“Highly threatening acts by Turkey include repeated overflights of Greek territory by fighter jets, in contravention to international law,” the letter said.

The dispute between the two countries mainly centers around oil-and-gas drilling rights in the eastern Mediterranean, specifically around Greek islands near Turkey’s coast.

Two years ago, a Turkish survey mission caused a tense naval stand-off, which Western allies warned could have led to military conflict.

In response to the energy crisis worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Greece pledged to step up hydrocarbon exploration along its western coastline and temporarily postpone a planned coal phase-out.

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