in ,

Turkey Demands Greece "Demilitarize" 16 Aegean Islands Amid Gas Drilling Dispute

Erdogan continues bid to lay claim to half of entire East Mediterranean waters…

At a moment tensions are soaring over Turkey’s expansive East Mediterranean claims, and after starting early last summer it began sending oil and gas exploration and drilling ships off Cyprus’ coast, Ankara is demanding that Greece “demilitarize” its islands in the Aegean Sea, reports Bloomberg

The demand from Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who formally requested Greece move to withdraw armed forces and weaponry from 16 Aegean islands near Turkey on Wednesday, is rich given it’s Turkey that’s been provocatively sending warships and military jets to accompany illegal gas drilling in the area, something lately condemned by the EU.

“Greece, arming 16 out of 23 islands with non-military status, in violation of agreements in the Aegean sea, should act in accordance with international law,” said Defense Minister Akar, cited in state-run Anadolu Agency. “We expect Greece to act in line with international law and the agreements it has signed,” he added

Though becoming increasingly internationally isolated over the drilling issue in EU-member Cyrpus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), Turkey has remained unmoved and at times is positively boastful about it. 

Not shying away from admitting Turkish maritime claims now stretch from Cypriot waters all the way to Libya (based on a controversial recent maritime boundary ‘deal’ signed with the Tripoli Government of National Accord), Akar further had this to say according to state media

In addition to the fight against terrorism, Turkey’s activities are ongoing in the Aegean, Eastern Mediterranean, off Cyprus, and Libya, Akar said, adding that they are carried out in accordance with international law and the territorial integrity of the countries.

Turkey is a guarantor country for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities, he said.

“The Cyprus issue is our national issue. Whatever we need to do there, we’ve done so far and will continue to do so. We will continue to protect the rights of both our own and Cypriot brothers,” he added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has for the past half-year been sending warships near Cypriot waters in order to ward off foreign competition to oil and gas research, according to Cypriot officials, also seeking to bar Cypriot ships and planes from freely traversing its own European recognized waters. 

But Erdogan is also bumping up against other Mediterranean countries’ plans in the region — notably Israel and Egypt as well, at a moment he’s engaged in multiple crises both domestic and related to the West even as Turkey has long sought EU membership.

Greece’s recognized waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (above) vs. Turkey’s proposed and expansive maritime claims (blue, below), with areas it now demands Athens must “demilitarized” in red.

Help us grow. Support The Duran on Patreon!


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.

What do you think?

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
January 24, 2020

How the hell does anyone think Turkey is the one that is “increasingly internationally isolated” when it was GREECE that wasn’t even INVITED to the Berlin talks?? Czechoslovakia wasn’t invited to Munich in 1938 either, how did THAT work out?
The US and Russia are both bending over backwards to appease Erdogan, because whichever side he shifts to will hold the balance of power in Eurasia. Again, read Brzezinski.

Reply to  oldandjaded
January 24, 2020

How much leverage would “Recep the Magnificent” currently have, if Trump had been allowed in 2017, to build rapprochement with Russia unimpeded?

January 25, 2020

Turkey, unlawfully invading Cyprus, should follow international war.

January 25, 2020

Hi I’ve been following you since you practically began and commend you for your clarity & honesty, also there’s a professor called Nikos Lygeros who is a political strategist and has exhaustively researched these issues in the eastern Mediterranean. I suggest you look into his observations and you may be pleasantly surprised. Peter Melbourne Australia

US-China phase one trade deal. Trump scores political win, China wins time (Video)

Adam Schiff stuns Senate, reveals Russia set to attack U.S. mainland (Video)