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Greek-Turkish Conflict: ''Turks Have No Sense of Justice''

Greek Reporter

The recently renewed dispute between Turkey and Greece is continuing, although the official Athens spoke of improving relations with Turkey before. The reason for the current dispute was the incident near Imia.

As known, the dispute between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean dates back to the time of the formation of the modern Turkish state. According to the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923, which completed the partition of the Ottoman territories after the First World War, most of the islands of the Aegean became Greek. Relations between countries that were tensed since the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-1922 began to deteriorate rapidly after the conflict in Cyprus and the introduction of the Turkish troops in the north of the island in 1974.

The signing of the UN international convention on the sea law in 1982 opened for Greece the opportunity to claim the inclusion in its territorial waters of a 12-mile zone around its territory, which Turkey sees as a threat to its security.

In 1996, the dispute over the territorial affiliation of the two rocky isles of Imia (Kardak) in the Dodecanese archipelago in the Aegean Sea led to a crisis in relations between Greece and Turkey. The conflict was terminated after the intervention of the international community, NATO and the United States. In the last days of the crisis, on January 31, 1996, a helicopter of the Greek Navy crashed in the conflict area, three Greek officers were killed. The accident happened because of some technical problems.

This time, just a few days ago, according to the Greek Coast Guard, in the Greek territorial waters east of Imia, the Turkish patrol boat made dangerous maneuvers in violation of international rules for preventing collisions of ships, and rammed the ship of the Greek Coast Guard patrolled in the area. It should be noted that patrolling was funded by the European Union to monitor Greek and European maritime boundaries. Official representative of the Greek government Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said that Athens is worried about a serious incident, and laid on Ankara responsibility for provocations.

Turkey in its turn blames Greece for the incident. Nevertheless, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, in telephone conversations with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras, called on Athens to reduce tensions in the Aegean Sea. The Prime Minister of Greece, in turn, pointed out to his Turkish counterpart that such events undermine Greek-Turkish and European-Turkish relations and violate international law. Nevertheless, the premieres agreed that the problem should be solved through dialogue, in connection with which the representatives of the military departments of the two countries will meet in the near future.

The Greek Minister of National Defense, Panos Kammenos, at the Council of NATO Defense Ministers in Brussels said that Greece will no longer tolerate provocative behavior on the part of Turkey and attempts to question the identity of Greece with the islands of Imia, RIA Novosti reports.

In connection with the incident, the former Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos made a loud statement about Turkey. In particular, he said: "A good Turk is a dead Turk. I believe in this, because I have never encountered a good Turk. The Turks have no sense of justice," Pangalos said, Rua.gr writes.

Let us note that the long-standing conflict between Athens and Ankara is one of the main sources of instability within NATO. Moreover, according to some experts, the cause of the conflict is not only territorial. After the discovery of natural gas deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 2000s, the rates in the Aegean dispute rose even higher, RT writes. Even Erdogan's visit to Greece in December 2017 did not help improve relations between the countries. And this is not at all surprising - after all the day before the visit, Erdogan said about the need to review the Lausanne Treaty, which defined the borders between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea. However, the Greek side rejected this proposal.

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