Dec 07 2017

Lausanne Treaty “needs revision” - Erdoğan

The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which fixed most of the borders of modern Turkey and guaranteed the rights of religious minorities in Turkey and Greece, “needs a revision”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.

“This revision is not only for Turkey but also for Greece. It could be mutually beneficial, but of course there are those who do not understand what this might be all about,” Erdoğan told Kathimerini newspaper in advance of Thursday’s visit to Athens, the first by a Turkish president in 65 years.

“I do not want to expound on the details. The islands and other discussions are ongoing,” he added.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos dismissed talk of revising the treaty.

"It has no flaws, it does not need to be reviewed, or to be updated," he told Kathemirini.

There have long been ongoing disagreements between the two states over the extent of national maritime waters and airspace in the Aegean, as well as over some small uninhabited islands near the Turkish coast.

In September 2016, however, Erdoğan appeared to contest the Ottoman concession of the Dodecanese islands, which now form a part of Greece.

“At Lausanne, we gave up islands where if you shout (from the Turkish coast) they will hear you: is this a victory?” he said.

Erdoğan also said Athens had been wrong to get the judiciary involved in the extradition of Turkish coup suspects who had fled to Greece in July 2016.

“If you leave it to the judiciary, no outcome can ever be reached and you won't be able to reach any results,” he told Kathimerini.

“Before delegating it to the judiciary, we should finalise the process as members of the executive bodies.”

However, Erdoğan assured critics that they would receive a fair trial were they to be extradited.

“I can confidently say that the judiciary in Turkey is more fair than in any other European nation,” he said.