Turkey's recent move in the Eastern Aegean Sea to challenge the sovereignty of the Greek islets of IMIA apart from showing a blatant disregard for the troubled region's stability also failed to take into account a host of binding legal precedents, which weigh decidedly in Greece's favour.
Just as Nato has succeeded in its efforts to pacify the Northern Balkans, Turkey, a NATO member, causes instability and turbulence in the sensitive adjacent region of the Aegean Sea.
In addition, Turkey's stance is inconsistent with long standing international treaties.
The Lausanne treaty of 1932, ratified by both Greece and Turkey, stipulates that islets and rock-islets with distances of less than three nautical miles from the Turkish shoreline are Turkish territory. The Imia islets are four miles away from the Turkish coast line.
Both 1932 treaties between Italy and Turkey unequivocally define the owner of each of the region's rock-islets and the exact location of the dividing line between territories. These treaties explicitly depict the Imia islets as part of Greece (see Italian-Turkish treaty of December 12 1932; point 30 of treaty).
Official aeronautical maps printed by the United States Air Force, clearly and consistently show both rock-islets of Imia to be Greek territory.
Since 1951, Turkey has agreed that her western frontiers coincide with the limits of the Istanbul Flight Information Region (FIR). This was agreed upon during the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) Second Middle East Regional Air Navigation Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey (October November 1950) and was published in the Final Report of the Rules of the Air and Air Traffic Control Committee paper for the region. The rock-islets in question are clearly located inside the Athens-FIR (i.e. outside the Istanbul-FIR) which is shown by all relevant ICAO maps ever since. Therefore the islets are documented to be a part of Greece.
In the Aeronautical Information Publications (AIPs) published by Turkey and distributed globally, it is clearly stated that Turkey's western frontiers are the same as the Istanbul FIR. The Imia islets are clearly depicted outside the Istanbul FIR and inside the Athens FIR as shown in the maps above.
Thus recent Turkish claims on the islets are reprehensible since they are not only clearly unfounded, but also jeopardise peace in the region since it is well known that Greece will defend its borders. It appears to the objective observer that the Turkish objective in raising questions about the sovereignty of the Imia islets is a common diplomatic ploy to draw Greece into bilateral negotiations on non-negotiable issues regarding the sovereignty of her own territory.
Many are questioning the objectives of the United States mediation in the region and are afraid that some US State Department diplomatic manoeuvres, including the recent US reluctance to clearly reiterate its recognition of the sovereignty of the islets, ultimately aid the aggressor and do not help the prospects of peace in the region. It seems that certain circles in the State Department influenced by the Turkish lobby are trying to create problems in Greek-American relations and cause problems in the re-election of President Clinton. These circles risk encouraging another conflict at the expense of Greece in the Aegean. This diplomacy is against the fundamental principles of justice in US foreign policy as demonstrated by US actions in Kuwait and Bosnia.