Statement Of The Spokesperson Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Tanju Bilgiç, In Response To A Question Regarding The Remarks Of The Spokesperson Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of Greece And The Minister Of Defense Of Greece In The Media Regarding The Aegean

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 01.04.2015

QA-11, 1 April 2015

We observed that the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece commented in response to a question on 29 March on the remarks of our Minister of National Defense in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. In response to a question directed in the Grand National Assembly with reference to media reports which dealt with the names of some islands in the Aegean, H.E. İsmet Yılmaz referred to the legal aspects of the issue within the framework of international law.

As is known, there are inter-related issues in the Aegean. Turkey’s approach towards the Aegean Sea is clear and is well known by all relevant parties. We wish the Aegean to be an area of peace, friendship and cooperation. We maintain the political will and determination necessary for the comprehensive and lasting settlement of all Aegean issues through peaceful means, based on common interests and mutual consent of both parties. Until the settlement of these issues, it is important that both sides refrain from unilateral initiatives that can have a negative impact on the regional peace and stability, and undermine the sustained positive atmosphere between the two countries.

On the other hand, it resonated in the press that the Minister of National Defense of Greece claimed, in response to a question, that the Aegean is a “Greek Sea.” This distorted notion lying at the basis of all Aegean issues damages the efforts exerted for the improvement of relations between the two countries and settlement of disputes over the Aegean.

Turkey will continue to protect its rights and interests in the Aegean within the framework of international law. We once again emphasize the necessity to act with prudence regarding this issue and to benefit from the existing dialogue mechanisms.

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