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Turkey insists on demilitarization of islands

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Reiterating that Greece must demilitarize its islands, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has taken issue with official celebrations over the weekend on nearby Chios and Samos, calling them a “provocation.”

 

Speaking to Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper, Akar also claimed that the 1923 Lausanne Treaty states there are 23 islands that cannot be militarized and that 16 of them are.

His remarks followed a Turkish Defense Ministry post on Twitter of a video showing cadets swimming to the Turkish islets of Tuzla, a distance similar to that from Turkey to Greece’s southeastern Aegean island of Kastellorizo. On December 24, Akar challenged Greece’s maritime zone around Kastellorizo, saying it is located just 1,950 meters away. “A cadet at the military academy can swim to it,” he said.

Also on Monday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey is questioning the sovereignty of the islands that have been militarized.