US says Greek sovereignty over the Aegean islands is not disputed
The United States reiterated calls on Turkey to respect its neighboring Greece’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Greece’s sovereignty over its Aegean islands is not disputed, US State Department said.
“We call on all parties to refrain from rhetoric and actions that could further escalate tensions,” a State Department spokesperson said in a written statement, the National Herald reported on Tuesday.
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 in violation of international treaties.
On Monday, Ankara lodged protests to Greece and the United States, after Turkish officials released drone footage on Sunday, allegedly showing US-supplied armored vehicles being carried out of ships on Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos.
Summoning the Greek ambassador to Turkey, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the deployment was another violation of Greece's obligations under international law. Turkey also urged the US to respect for the status of Eastern Aegean islands and to take measures to prevent the use of its weapons there.
In the written statement, US State Department said at a time when Russia has again invaded a sovereign European state, statements that could increase tensions between NATO allies are not particularly helpful.
“The United States continues to encourage its NATO allies to work together to maintain peace and security in the region and to resolve disputes through diplomacy,” it said.
“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected and protected,” the statement said.
Turkey says despite the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris that require Greece’s eastern Aegean islands to remain demilitarised, 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.