Scholz says Turkey’s questioning of Greek sovereignty “not acceptable”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday rejected Turkish claims on the sovereignty of Greek islands, at the start of an official visit to Athens.
Scholz said it was "not acceptable" for a NATO state to question the sovereignty of a fellow member, in an interview with Greek daily Ta Nea ahead of an official meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
He also criticized the "more or less veiled military threats" towards Greece made repeatedly by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his senior officials in recent months.
“Good neighborly relations between Greece and Turkey are important not only for the two countries, but also for the whole of Europe. The German federal government maintains that open issues between the two countries must be resolved through dialogue and on the basis of international law.” he said, adding that Germany can contribute to this.
Turkey and Greece, both NATO allies, have long been at odds over a string of issues, including the status of the Aegean islands
Turkey accuses Greece for militarizing its islands and building American bases in violation of international treaties.
Turkey says despite the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris that require Greece’s eastern Aegean islands to remain demilitarized, Athens has armed 16 out of the 23 islands, in violation of international law. In response to Turkish claims, Greece says the restrictions no longer apply.
Erdogan last month said “Greece occupies the islands” and “"When the time comes, we will do what is necessary. As we say, all of a sudden, we can come overnight."