Turkey’s Erdoğan questions sovereignty of disputed islands in Aegean

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday questioned the sovereignty of certain islands in the Aegean Sea, echoing Turkey’s long-time maritime borders dispute with Greece.

The Turkish president warned against any blockading or trapping of Turkey in its own coasts, news site T24 reported.

“We do not intend to start conflicts with anyone for no reason or deprive someone of their rights,” Erdoğan said. 

“Those who make plans on disputed sovereignty islands in the Aegean should know that the coast is not clear (for them,)” the Turkish president said on Sunday while speaking at the launch of the new Piri Reis-class submarine.

Greece and Turkey have disputed for decades over sovereignty and related rights in the area of the Aegean Sea. Turkey’s maintains the existence of "grey zones," an undetermined number of small islands of undetermined sovereignty, including Imia/Kardak.

The uninhabited Kardak islets, known as Imia in Greece, have been subject to a territorial dispute between Turkey and Greece since a naval accident in 1995. The two countries almost came to blows in 1996 over the islets after three Greek military officers were killed when their helicopter crashed over the islets during a patrol.

“The owner of both the Aegean and the Mediterranean are all of the countries which have coastline with these seas. As the country with the longest coast, we are determined to continue struggle with all of our resources in protecting our rights there,’’ Erdoğan said. 


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