Berlin asks Ankara to respect the sovereignty of the Greek islands

Today, Friday, German Foreign Minister Annalina Birbock indicated that the Aegean islands that Turkey claims are Greek islands, urging Ankara to respect the sovereignty of Athens, just hours before her scheduled visit. in Turkey.

Berbock, along with his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias, said on the second day of his visit to the Greek capital: “The Greek islands of Lesbos, Chios, Rhodes and many other islands are Greek lands, and no one has the right to doubt that.”

Greece and Turkey, border countries and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, have historically confronted the issue of airspace and maritime areas in the Aegean Sea, where the level of tension has recently increased after the discovery of rich reserves of gas.

In recent months, Ankara has threatened to challenge Greece’s sovereignty over its islands in the Aegean if it continues to deploy its forces there.

Bierbock stressed that the German government “will leave no doubt that we are in solidarity with Greece”, calling for dialogue between the two neighboring countries and “respect for the sovereignty of each of them”.

“For me, it is clear that we should resolve disputes between NATO partners through dialogue,” said Birbock, who will leave for Turkey on Friday afternoon for a two-day visit.

He added in a joint press conference that “the disputes in the ranks of the alliance are exactly what the Russian president wants” Vladimir Putin.

For his part, the Greek Foreign Minister criticized the planned delivery of German submarines to Turkey.

At the end of the meeting with his German counterpart, Dendias declared: “With these submarines there is a great danger that the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean will be disturbed” and that the balance is hanging “in favor of a country that, despite is a NATO member, (threatened to launch a war) against Greece. “

Dendias had asked former German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in writing in 2020 to prevent the sale of submarines, frigates and planes to Turkey.

Ankara has formed a joint venture venture with the German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems to build six submarines in Turkey. Turkey is still trying to purchase new F-16 fighters from the United States and accuses the Greek-American lobby in Washington of trying to block the deal.

Athens, for its part, recently signed a multi-billion dollar deal with France to purchase Rafale fighter jets and Pilara-class frigates, and is preparing to order at least one American F-35 fighter squadron in the near future.

In the context of the German reparations case, Nikos Dendias recalled that Athens maintains its compensation claims for the German occupation period between 1941 and 1944. But Annalena Birbock reiterated Berlin’s position, which sees no legal basis for such requests.