Columnist claims Aegean ‘Ottoman islands’ for Turkey

ANKARA — A newspaper columnist in Turkey has added his voice to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and politicians — including rival parties — who want Turkey to get tough on Greece and even seize islands.

Pro-government columnist Milliyet and director of the Kanal D TV network in Ankara, Zafer Sahin, wrote an article titled The Ottoman Islands in the Aegean Sea questioning Greece’s ownership of some.

“There are Ottoman islands that were not transferred to the maps of the United States and Britain, published after World War II, which appear outside of Greek territory,” Sahin said.

He wrote following Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who said that if Greece does not demilitarize some islands Turkey might act, but did not say whether they would be taken or invaded.

“Otherwise, the sovereignty debate starts because they were given (to Greece) with conditions,” he said.

But he went further, Kathimerini said, suggesting that Turkey is also contesting the sovereignty of other islands, including Gavdos. “This is located south of Crete and is under a regime whose sovereignty has not been determined,” he said.

Referring to the 1996 crisis on the uninhabited islets of Imia which brought the countries to the brink of war and led to the crash of a Greek helicopter in mysterious circumstances.

He killed Greek naval officers who killed Christodoulos Karathanasis, Panagiotis Vlahakos and Ektoras Gialopsos, with speculation their craft was shot down and the incident covered up to prevent a war.

Sahin said rising tensions mean that “a second Imia crisis is on the brink. This is because the situation has turned into a deep political and military crisis that goes beyond the Imia issue.

He said Turkey should ask who owns the islands whose sovereignty has not been granted to either country under any treaty, although some Erdogan have said he wants some Greek islands to be ceded under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne which it does not recognize unless invoked in favor of Turkey. .

The idea was also picked up and promoted by Turkish media, targeting specific islands, such as Agathonisi and Farmakonisi, Kathimerini said of Turkish revisionism.

“Turkey has long enacted the ‘grey areas’ theory regarding the status of 152 Greek islands and islets, but there now appears to be an attempt to connect them to the Ottoman Empire,” the paper said.

Sharon P. Juarez