Greece cancels Turkey talks in diplomatic meltdown after Erdogan’s planes fly over islands

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On Wednesday, Turkey infringed airspace rules by flying 41 planes over Greek islands resulting in 120 violations of International laws. Greek Foreign Affairs minister Themostoklis Demiris said “these actions are a violation of Greek sovereignty and constitute an unacceptable challenge contrary to fundamental principles of international law”.

Mr Demiris added: “These actions, in addition to being illegal and provocative, endanger international air traffic, completely contradict the principle of good neighbourly relations between the two countries and undermine efforts to consolidate a climate of trust.”

On Thursday the Greek government officially announced a freeze to talks with Turkey on the Confidence Building Measures.

In February, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the sovereignty of some Greek islands was debatable if Greece fails to “demilitarise” them.

Speaking to TRT television, Mr Cavusoglu warned: “We sent two letters to the UN.

“We sent them because Greece is violating the demilitarisation regime of the islands.

“These islands were ceded to Greece by the Treaties of Lausanne of 1923 and Paris of 1947 on the condition of their demilitarisation.

“But Greece has been violating this regime since the 1960s.

“In the letter we wrote we mentioned that Greece violates the terms of the treaties, these islands were given under conditions, and if Greece does not change its position, then the sovereignty of these islands is debatable.”

Ankara and Athens have been at odds over several issues for years, from conflicting Mediterranean maritime claims to air space and migration.

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The states came close to a confrontation last year, hurting ties between the European Union and Ankara.

The two nations are also locking horns over migrants at their borders.

Ankara has been blaming Athens over the death of 19 migrants at sea in February.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on February 2 that migrants had been “pushed back by Greek Border Units, stripped off from their clothes and shoes have frozen to death”.

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He added that the EU is “remediless, weak and void of humane feelings”.

In response, Greek Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi said: “The statements of the Turkish leadership regarding the tragic incident in which people lost their lives in Turkey were unacceptable. It is Turkey’s responsibility to prevent illegal departures.”

He added that the “migrants in questions never reached the border”.

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