German Chancellor Scholz rejects Turkey’s claims against Greece

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday rejected Turkish claims on the sovereignty of Greek islands, at the start of an official visit to Athens.

Speaking to Greek daily Ta Nea ahead of an official meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Scholz said it was “not acceptable” for a NATO state to question the sovereignty of a fellow member.

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He also criticized the “more or less veiled military threats” towards Greece made repeatedly by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his senior officials in recent months.

Greece and Turkey, which are both members of the US-led NATO defense alliance, have feuded for years over maritime borders and energy exploration rights in the Aegean and east Mediterranean seas.

On his first visit to Greece as chancellor, Scholz on Thursday urged both states to resolve their differences “through dialogue and on the basis of international law.”

Erdogan has lately also accused Greece of “occupying” Aegean islands whose status was settled in treaties adopted after World War I.

In response, Athens accuses Turkey of conducting hundreds of illegal military sorties over the islands.

Last month, the United States said that Greek sovereignty was not in doubt, after Ankara lodged a protest over the deployment of Greek armored vehicles on the islands of Lesbos and Samos.

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