FM interview with Turkish newspaper

There must be a solution in the exploratory talks between the Greek and Turkish foreign ministries, or recourse must be taken in the International Court of Justice at The Hague over the Aegean continental shelf, following the general elections in Turkey, Greek foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas said on Monday, and called on Turkey to sign the UN's Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In an interview with the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, Droutsas said that the exploratory talks need to produce a result, adding that, from the contacts and statements that have been made, it is perceived that the conditions have ripened for Turkey to sign the Law of the Sea Convention.

"They tell us that Turkey is following a policy of zero problems with its neighbors, that it has changed, that it respects international law, that it wants to be a protagonist in the region and does not desire tension," Droutsas said, adding that: "On a daily basis, however, we face many issues that cause tension -- Turkish war planes fly constantly over islands inhabited by the Greek people. Turkish fleet vessels constantly sail very close to our territorial waters".

Droutsas stressed that Greece has the right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, under international law of the seas, but Turkey has called the use of this Greek right a 'casus belli', a cause for war. "That, however, is an open violation of the UN convention, which is the sacred text of the Law of the Sea. And I ask, is this how Turkey will develop the dogma of zero problems?" he added.

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