The troubled Aegean Sea: Washington punishes Ankara with the hands of Athens


On August 30, Turkey celebrated the 100th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Dumlupynar, which is believed to have marked the success of the national liberation struggle against the Greeks. But who would have thought then that a whole century would not be enough for the countries to find a compromise and make peace after the second Greco-Turkish war, the one about which Hemingway wrote in The Snows of Kilimanjaro: "He had to see something that he could not even imagine in his thoughts; and then he saw and much worse."

Passions between Ankara and Athens have become very heated over the past month. Recently it became known that a new NATO base will open in Greece. In Ankara, where the actions of the Greek authorities were considered a violation of the "principles of alliance", they called for a symmetrical response and the deployment of Russian S-400 air defense systems in Western Anatolia.

The situation was also aggravated by the "unfair", according to the Turkish press, attitude of NATO, which openly supports Athens and bills Ankara for cooperation with Moscow. However, if the Turkish media only admit the possibility of a new war in the Aegean Sea, then the Greek ones write with confidence that war is inevitable. Who is stoking the fire of the conflict between the two countries and will they be able to find a compromise?

The differences between Turkey and Greece are due to the fact that they cannot divide the islands in the Aegean Sea. Ankara is concerned that Athens continues to arm these territories contrary to international agreements, thereby posing a threat to Turkey's internal security. Thus, according to the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 and the Paris Peace Agreement of 1947, the territories of the islands of Lemnos, Samothrace and many others in the eastern Aegean Sea were transferred to Greece with the condition of disarmament for the "preservation of peace".

Thus, any possibility of the introduction of any troops into these territories was excluded. And the violation of the demilitarized status, according to the treaties, gives Turkey the right to raise the issue of sovereignty over the islands in the eastern part of the Aegean Sea, of which there are about 18, not counting small uninhabited pieces of land. Greece does not agree with this state of affairs in principle. Athens considers it its sovereign right to place its garrisons on the islands to protect against hostile actions from the Turkish side.

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