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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 24 February 2018
22 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Turkish president’s advisor threatens Greece over Imia islets The Turkish President’s advisor said they would “break the arms and legs of any officers, of the prime minister or of any minister who dares to step onto Imia” Tensions in the Aegean continue, with one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's chief advisors issuing a direct threat to Greece's political representatives over the Imia islets. The startling comments were made by Yigit Bulut on Turkish television, directing Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, his ministers and other officials to not set foot on the islets. If they fail to heed the warning, Bulut said that Athens would "feel the anger of Turkey, worse than that in Afrin" referencing the Kurdish-controlled enclave in Syria where Turk- ish troops have engaged. "We will break the arms and legs of any officers, of the prime minister or of any minister who dares to step onto Imia in the Aegean," Bulut said. The controversial comments follow an incident near the Imia islets last week, when a Turkish patrol boat rammed a Greek Coast Guard patrol boat. There has also been a spike in Turkish air space violations in the Aegean of late. Tensions over the Imia islets are long-standing between Greece and Turkey, who came close to war over the territory in 1996. Ankara continues to dispute the islets' sovereignty. Albanian President blocks talks with Greece to determine sea borders The two countries are to resume negotiations about their Ionian borders, with Greece aiming to secure expansion of its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles Determination of the sea border between Albania and Greece in the Ionian was further stalled after Albanian President Ilir Meta refused a request by the Albanian government to authorise talks. "The request doesn't clearly define the object of negotiations for which the authorisation is requested," Meta said in a statement, demanding further information on the government's objective and strategy. Meta, former leader of the Socialist Movement of Integration party, which is now in opposition, became president last year and his The Imia islets in the Aegean. PHOTO: MEDIUM 17 Turkish asylum seekers rescued by the Chios coast guard They arrived by boat and claim they are public servants and judiciary employees threatend by the Erdogan regime A group of asylum seekers crossing the Aegean from Turkey by boat reached the Chios coasts on Monday morning. The local Coast Guard patrol located them as they were approaching the 'Pounta' beach at Oinousses and proceeded to their rescue. The 17 individuals, seven men, four women, and six children, were transferred to the Central Port Authority of Chios, where they are being registered. According to reports from local media outlets, the asylum seekers are Turkish civil servants, from the judicial branch of the government, some of them high ranking, who fled the country to avoid persecution and imprisonment by the Erdogan regime. Turkish foreign ministry expresses concerns over Kotzias’ comments on relations with Turkey Turkish spokesman says Greek foreign minister’s statement that Greece would show “no peaceful behaviour” is “worrisome” and irresponsible Tensions have continued to rise after a Turkish patrol boat rammed a Greek Coast Guard patrol boat near the Imia islets last week. In response to the incident, Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias appeared on Alpha TV on Friday and stated that Greece would show "no peaceful behaviour" to Turkey. "The Turks ought to hear that, as they keep speaking of warnings and warnings. I have told them that Greece – and I'm saying this in the positive sense for the following countries and with regards to Turkey's behaviour – is neither Syria nor Iraq. We are a strong state with good defence, good de- fensive systems, good allies and high diplomatic capacity," he said. It didn't take long for Tur- key to respond to the comments, with foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy expressing concerns over the stance as "worrisome". He went on to cite a phone call that took place between the two countries' prime ministers last week, during which they discussed pursuing confidence-building measures to lower tensions in the Aegean. "In this framework, we once again stress that our country support the de-escalation of tensions in the Aegean Sea," Mr Aksoy said in Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias. PHOTO: INDEPENDENT BALKAN NEWS AGENCY a statement. "But, unfortunately, it seems that [the] Greek foreign minister has adopted an approach that is non-peaceful, crosses the line, and [is] far from the responsibility required by his political position." He went on to encourage Mr Kotzias to be sensible and to adhere to the common goals discussed by the PMs. Meanwhile, during his appearance on Alpha TV, the Greek foreign minister revealed that he has asked his ministry's legal service to examine the possibility of seeking compensation from Turkey for damages to the coast guard vessel. tenure is seen as a counterpoint to the left-wing government of Edi Rama, which has tried to thaw relationships with Greece, hoping that this will improve Albania's chances of becoming a member of the European Union. Talks between Greece and Albania have been overshadowed by criticism from the opposition, accusing Rama of "selling out" the country, but Ilir Meta was adamant that this is not why he refused to grant authorisation. "The aim of the president has not been and is not to play politics with such a se- rious and delicate issue," he told a press conference on Tuesday. The issue in question - the delimitation of the continental shelf - is one of the key matters that have been plaguing Greek-Albanian relations for years. The two countries signed an agreement in 2009, which gives Greece the right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, from the baseline of its coastal state (from the current six nautical miles), but the Albanian Constitutional Court annulled it in 2010 after finding it in breach of the constitution and international norms. It is believed that the agreement was the result of Greece strongholding Albania to accept an unfair deal, by threatening to block Albania's European integration. When the two countries resumed talks, Greece practically acknowledged the unfairness of the previous agreement and is considering agreeing to Albania expanding its territorial waters to a maritime area north of Corfu, while at the same time securing the reach of Greek waters to 12 nautical miles.
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