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Greece Defies Turkish War Threats Over Aegean Territorial Waters

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The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded on Saturday to Turkey’s Vice President who threatened Greece with war if it expands it’s territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in the Aegean.

“Turkey’s unprecedented belief that it can threaten neighboring countries with the use of force when they exercise their legal rights is contrary to contemporary political culture and also the fundamental provisions of international law,” the foreign ministry said in an announcement.

Athens was responding to Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay who, in an interview with the state-run Anadolu Agency, asked himself the rhetorical question: “If Athens’ attempts to expand its territorial waters isn’t a cause of war, then what is?”

The Greek Foreign Ministry reminded Ankara that “Turkey is bound by Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter, among others. If it has a different view, let it say so explicitly.

“In any case, we remind [Turkey] that the exercise of Greece’s sovereign rights is not subject to any form of Turkish veto,” the foreign ministry announcement concluded.

Earlier this week, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced in Parliament that the government will soon submit a bill extending Greece’s territorial waters in the Ionian Sea from six to 12 nautical miles.

Mitsotakis said Greece would thereby exercise an “inalienable sovereign right” in line with Article 3 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Athens has long maintained that it has the right to extend it’s territorial waters in the Aegean and that it reserves the right to decide if and when.

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