Apr 01 2018

Greece exploiting EU's 'Natura 2000' program through new law - Turkish Foreign Ministry

Responding to Greece’s recently passed law on protected regions on land and at sea, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry stated that Turkey will not accept any faits accompli on the geography of the Aegean Sea, Anadolu News Agency reported.

Greece’s recently adopted law no. 4519, regarding 446 ''Natura 2000,” includes the disputed Kardak islets in the Aegean. A decades-long dispute between Turkey and Greece over the uninhabited Aegean islets of Kardak pushed the two neighbouring countries into the brink of an armed conflict in 1996.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy, in a written statement, noted “In fact, our country has no objection to the general aims and content of the EU’s environmental programs such as Natura 2000.’’

While Natura 2000 is a network of protected nature areas in EU territory, Aksoy underlined that this law would not the first time Greece has sought to exploit these programs in the Aegean .

“Greece, following the Kardak crisis in 1996, included the Kardak rocks in the Natura 2000 program, as well as some islands, islets and rocks in the Aegean Sea whose sovereignty is not ceded to Greece by international agreements,” Aksoy underlined.

The spokesman urged Greece to act with ‘’common sense,’’ adding that the EU should not become a “tool” of Greece’s “political exploitation efforts”.

“We take this opportunity to say that there is no doubt about the sovereignty of Turkey over Kardak,” Aksoy stated, adding that the Greek law will have no legal effect on Turkey-Greece disputes in the Aegean.