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Turkey Tells the EU: Imia Islets Belong to Us!

Turkey claimed “the Kardak Rocks [Imia] and their territorial waters and airspace above them are exclusively under Turkish sovereignty”.
Turkey has responded angrily to a EU report accusing the country of “offensive and unacceptable rhetoric” in its relations with Greece and Cyprus.
The 2018 Turkey Country Report and the Enlargement Strategy Paper accuses Turkey of creating tensions in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean that “are not conducive to good neighbourly relations and undermined regional stability and security”.
It also notes that in March 2018, the European Council strongly condemned Turkey’s “continued illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea and recalled Turkey’s obligation to respect international law and good neighbourly relations and to normalise relations with all EU Member States”.
The EU report also expresses “grave concern over the continued detention of EU citizens in Turkey, including two Greek soldiers”.
In a statement, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed satisfaction at the report.
“We welcome the European Commission’s statement that Ankara’s provocative behaviour towards member states of the European Union, primarily in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, is not simply a bilateral matter, but also concerns the Union’s regional security.
“Moreover, we are especially satisfied at the express reference to the two Greek soldiers who continue to be detained in Edirne,” the statement read.
Turkey responds
On the other side of the Aegean, Ankara responded with anger saying that the EU cannot rule on disputes related to sovereignty.
“It is totally wrong and unacceptable that the EU is positioning itself as a competent arbitrator or a court and attempting to render a judgment under the pretence of ‘Union solidarity’ with regard to the disputes related to sovereignty.”
It continues by telling the EU that the Imia islets are Turkish:
“The Kardak Rocks [Imia] and their territorial waters and airspace above them are exclusively under Turkish sovereignty.”
“The support given as ‘carte blanche’ by the EU to member states in their disputes with third countries do not contribute to the resolution of those issues within the framework of good neighbourly relations and international law,” it adds.
Ankara claims the EU is “unwilling to understand the difficulties we are passing through” saying it is fighting “several terrorist organizations” including ISIS, the PKK as well as the Fethullah Gulen network, which Turkey claims was behind the July 2016 coup attempt.

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