Ankara, Turkey – There are numerous small islands, islets and rocks in the Aegean ownership of which were not ceded to Greece by international treaties.

Most of those features cannot sustain human habitation and have no economic life of their own. Greece has attempted to change their status by opening some of those geographical features to artificial settlement. To this end, Greece has enacted laws and regulations that have no bearing from the point of international law. Turkey regards this new Greek policy as another attempt to establish “fait accomplis” with a view to close-off the Aegean Sea as a Greek lake.

The position of Turkey on this matter is very clear. Turkey has no objection to the title of those islands, islets and rocks which were explicitly given to Greece by the relevant provisions of international treaties. However, the title of the other geographical formations should be confirmed by the provisions of valid international treaties.

This problem is related to the lack of any agreement concerning the delimitation of maritime boundaries between the two countries in the Aegean. The maritime boundaries in the Aegean have never been delimited, despite several efforts exerted in the past.

The 1996 crisis over the Kardak rocks has erupted by coincidence in such an atmosphere when Greece was making announcements for recruitment of potential settlers from all over the world to some of these small islets and rocks. It is obvious that such a recruitment and settlement effort is in total disregard of the environmental concerns and the fragility of the ecosystems of the small islands and rocks in the Aegean. In addition, it is yet another proof of Greece’s thirst for territorial expansion beyond areas ceded to her by the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 and the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947.