Information Note For The Press Concerning The Turkish Peace Initiative Of 11 March 1998 In Order To Resolve The Aegean Disputes Between Turkey And Greece March 12, 1998

The Ambassador of Greece in Ankara was invited to the Ministry on 11 March 1998 and a Note Verbal was presented to him, reflecting our views on the letter of Mr. Pangalos which conveyed the negative reply of the Greek Government to our initiative of 12 February. The approach of our Government concerning the settlement of the Aegean problems has also been expressed in the said Note.
Greek press reports, which refer to Greek Government officials, claim that our initiative of 11 March displays the usual Turkish views, is not substantive and not helpful in the settlement of the Aegean problems.
In the light of this development, it is considered worthwhile to inform the public about the important issues which have been brought to the attention of the Greek Government through our Note of 11 March 1998:
In the said Note, it has been stated that there is more than one dispute related to the Aegean which are yet to be resolved, many of which have resulted from one-sided Greek actions in contradiction to international law and practice; thus these problems should, first of all, be identified before determining appropriate means of settlement to be applied to each one of them. It was this understanding which was the starting point of our peace initiative of 12 February.
In the Note, Greece has been invited to take seriously the principles embodied in the Madrid Declaration, stressing that Turkey sees no rationale behind the unfavorable reply of Greece regarding our proposal to formalize the said Declaration. Concerning the Confidence Building Measures, Greece was invited to adopt the same determined position displayed by Turkey.
The inconsistency in the attitude of Greece concerning the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ was also underlined in our Note. As is known, Mr. Pangalos invites Turkey to recognize the compulsory jurisdiction of ICJ by a unilateral declaration under article 36 (2) of its Statute. Greece, however, in recognizing the Court's jurisdiction in 1993, excluded
certain breaches of her contractual obligations deriving from international agreements from the Court's jurisdiction. Hence, it is not a consistent approach for Greece to insist on Turkey's recognition of the Court's jurisdiction as a preliminary condition.
In the Note, it was also stated that the contribution of the EU Presidency to the Wisemen process was no more than a facilitating role in the exchange of letters between the Group members. It was recalled that, according to its mandate, activating the Wisemen process depended on the willingness of both countries and that due to the negative attitude of Greece since May 1998, this process could not be initiated.
In the initiative of 12 February 1998, Turkey proposed a high level meeting between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries in order to proceed with solutions to the Aegean problems. Although Greece has presented these contacts as meetings between Foreign Ministers in the margins of other international gatherings, in our Note of 11 March, it has been stated that Turkey is in favour of meetings at the level of Foreign Ministers as well as between their senior diplomats, rather than a meeting in the margins of international gatherings, provided that such meetings should be specifically organized to discuss all Aegean problems within a framework to be jointly determined.
Turkey wishes that all Aegean problems be settled through peaceful means, including third party procedures best suited to their specific nature and to be determined by mutual consent. That just twenty-four hours was enough for the Greek Government to study, evaluate and then reject our comprehensive and constructive initiative related to the outstanding Aegean problems which deserves serious consideration, is a record performance demonstrating intransingence, lack of seriousness and good will.
Despite all these, Turkey sincerely wishes that Greece reconsiders her uncompromising attitude and adopts a more constructive approach towards the settlement of the Aegean problems which have so far negatively affected the relations between the two countries in all fields.