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07 February, 1997
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos charged yesterday that recent statements by the Turkish foreign ministry disputing Greek sovereignty of a number of Aegean islands constituted "a violation of the fundamental rules of international law".
Mr. Pangalos was commenting on statements by Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Omer Akbel concerning an interview given by the foreign minister to a Greek monthly magazine on the Cyprus issue and the possibility of armed conflict between Greece and
Turkey. Mr. Akbel had implied that Mr. Pangalos was in favor of conflict.
Commenting on the issue yesterday, Mr. Pangalos cited recent statements made by Mr. Akbel one year since the Imia crisis which brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of war after Ankara disputed Greek sovereignty of the islets.
Mr. Pangalos said Mr. Akbel had expressed the view that any islet, rock or island not specifically named in international treaties signed by Turkey are "disputed" and Greece must negotiate with Turkey concerning the future of these territories.
"These statements constitute a violation of the fundamental rules of international law, firstly because international treaties are not only binding on the signatories but also on parties which did not sign them, and secondly because it is a matter of great importance where the islands referred to by Mr. Akbel are located, how they are used and by whom they are inhabited," Mr. Pangalos said.
He added that the international community had taken note of the "thoughts" of Mr. Akbel and "his superiors" and that "the natural consequences of this behavior are already being manifested".
"What Mr. Akbel has not understood is that Greece will not be subjugated and will certainly not accept demands put forward in the form of ultimatums, irrespective of where they come from. (The Turks) have only to study our history," Mr. Pangalos said.
Source: Athens News Agency