10:33 GMT +316 June 2019
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    A Greek Navy warship patrols near the eastern Greek Island of Agathonisi and the nearby Turkish shores, on the Aegean Sea (File)

    Athens Rejects Ankara's Protest Against Greek Plans to Expand Territorial Waters

    © AP Photo / Lefteris Pitarakis
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    ATHENS (Sputnik) - Greece’s decision to expand its territorial waters constitutes an "inalienable sovereign right" of the country, and cannot be a subject to negotiation with third nations, the Greek Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, dismissing Ankara’s relevant protests.

    Earlier in the day, Greek Ambassador in Ankara Petros Mavroidis was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and informed that Ankara would not tolerate any step on expansion of the Greek territorial waters in the Aegean Sea, where the two nations have territorial disputes, in absence of bilateral agreements on the issue.

    "Extending territorial waters constitutes a legal and inalienable sovereign right of Greece, in accordance with International Law. The relevant decision for extension is solely for Greece to make, which has the right to extend its territorial waters whenever and in whatever manner it sees fit. This right applies consistently and shall not be challenged, nor shall it be up for negotiation with third parties. This applies to all Greek territory," spokesman for the ministry Alexandros Yennimatas said, as quoted in a statement.

    Yennimatas added that "arbitrary interpretations of international law" by Turkey as well as relevant threats did not contribute to good neighborly relations between the two nations.

    READ MORE: Greece Accuses Turkey of Violating Int'l Law by Obstructing Drilling in Cyprus

    Former Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who resigned from the post of the head of the Greek Foreign Ministry, said on Saturday that the ministry planned to start extending the territorial waters of Greece in the Aegean Sea to 12 nautical miles from the current six miles. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who became Kotzias' successor, said at the handing-over ceremony that his office would continue the work.

    Back in 1995, Turkey warned that an attempt by Athens to expand its territorial sea beyond six nautical miles would authorize its government to declare a war on Greece. The Turkish Ministry reiterated it in its statement on Tuesday.

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