The Reply Of Ambassador Necati Utkan, The Foreign Ministry Spokesman To A Question Addressed To Him March 30, 1998

Question: Has Mr. Pangalos, the Greek Foreign Minister responded the recent proposals of Mr. Ismail Cem ?

Answer: As will be recalled, our Minister sent a letter to the Greek Foreign Minister on 11 March 1998 in which he had once again drawn the attention of Greece to our comprehensive proposals of last February and proposed to Mr. Pangalos to hold a meeting in Ankara in order to find means of settlement to the Aegean problems.

The Greek Foreign Minister Mr. Pangalos, responded the said letter on 19 March 1998. In this context, Mr. Pangalos has not replied to the invitation, extended to him by our Minister inviting him to Ankara and demonstrated the unfavorable Greek attitude on the other issues yet again.

It is surprising that Mr. Pangalos reiterated in his letter that the only existing problem in the Aegean is the delimitation of the Aegean continental shelf and Greece found appropriate that this problem should only be resolved through the International Court of Justice. This approach of Greece that "there is only one problem in the Aegean and only one means of solution to it" is illogical and against the realities. Thus, Greece leaves the Aegean issues unresolved by not recognizing the existence of other Aegean problems and the interrelations among them. Moreover this attitude proves that Greece does not envisage to take any step in order to diffuse the tension and potential confrontation risk in the Aegean.

However, Turkey has made such proposals to Greece which should not be turned down by a peace loving country. These proposals are based on the peaceful means of settlement envisaged in international law and enumerated in Article 33 of the UN Charter. Turkey has already announced that under such a peaceful solution process to be initiated with Greece, she does not rule out any of these means to be mutually agreed upon, for the settlement of all problems, as it was mutually decided in the Madrid Declaration.

Greece refrains from the peaceful solution process that Turkey has proposed within the framework of international law. It is being understood that preferring not to resolve her problems with Turkey and to maintain the tension in the Aegean has become a national policy in Greece. Obviously the responsibility of this approach belongs to Greece.

On her part, Turkey will continue in the future as well to display her good will and political determination for the settlement of all Aegean issues by peaceful means. However it will always be out of question that Turkey should tolerate the caprices of Greece and her efforts to impose unilateral solutions as well as to create fait accomplis. Turkey will continue to defend her rights in the Aegean resolutely and accordingly.