New Turkish book lays claim to Greek islands

A newly published Turkish book has laid claim to Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, news site Greek City Times said.

Writing in “Requirements of Greece. The problems in the Aegean with questions and answers”, Cihat Yaycı, a recently retired Turkish admiral, argues that geographical imbalances in the Aegean can be resolved if Turkey claims sovereignty over Greek islands and smaller islets.

Greek City Times did not specify which islands Yaycı was referring to.

In the book, it said Yaycı argued that the “the geopolitical imbalance in the Aegean is shaped by Greece’s policy in the light of the Great Idea”, referring to a Greek policy, also known as the Megali Idea, to take lands with large Greek populations that were still under Ottoman rule after the end of the Greek War of Independence (1821–1828).

In January 2020, Greek Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos rejected his Turkish counterpart’s call to demilitarise 16 Aegean islands that he said were under threat by Turkey’s policies in the sea, the Greek Reporter said.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar had said that Greece had violated international law by arming 16 of 23 Aegean islands placed under demilitarised status.

Greek-Turkish relations have for decades experienced regular crises over disputes about their maritime jurisdictions, and the close proximity of their warships in disputed seas raises the risk of confrontation.

Exploitation of natural gas resources has been a source of tension in the eastern Mediterranean between Ankara and Athens since last year, as all parties have stepped up their gas exploration and drilling efforts.