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28 September, 1998
Greek diplomats in Ankara on Saturday denied Turkish claims, namely, that Greece had cancelled a military exercise in the eastern Aegean.
"No such exercise had been planned," diplomatic sources said.
A written statement by the Turkish foreign ministry on Friday evening claimed that the Greek charge d' affaires in the Turkish capital had informed Turkish officials earlier last week that the "exercise" had been cancelled, following Turkey's insistence that Ankara would in no way accept Greek claims of sovereignty over the area surrounding the Imia islets, where the alleged exercise would supposedly take place.
The area was the scene of a serious Greek-Turkish stand-off that brought the two countries to the brink of war in late January 1996. The ministry statement expresses the hope that "logic will prevail in Greece and that the Greek government will show responsible behavior that will not lead to tension in future".
Greek diplomatic sources interpreted the statement as an attempt to reiterate Turkish claims regarding the legal status of certain areas in the eastern Aegean.
In Athens, a foreign ministry statement stressed on Saturday that the Turkish ministry announcement "not only doesn't correspond to reality, but is a distortion of reality revealing bad faith."
"No exercise in the Imia region has been planned, therefore, it is not possible to be cancelled. The only exercise that has taken place was the 'Parmenion' exercise in the broader region of the island of Hios," the foreign ministry statement added.
"The Imia islets are a part of Greece's sovereignty, something proved through international treaties. It's self-evident that this reality is in no way undermined by announcements or illegal Turkish actions," the statement concluded.
Source: Athens News Agency