17:03 GMT +319 April 2018
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    A Turkish SWAT team prepares to leave one of the controversial Kardak (Imia) islets after Greek troops were withdrawn from another one of the islet (File)

    Greek Gov't Plans to Populate Eastern Aegean Islets to Deter Turkish Claims

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    The Greek government intends to make a number of eastern Aegean islets habitable and populate them to deter Turkish claims to the land, media reported on Wednesday, citing a plan proposed by Deputy Minister of Shipping and Island Policy Nektarios Santorinios.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Measures including the building of infrastructure and projects such as the construction of beacons and military outposts are to be introduced on the islets to make them more habitable, according to a document presented in Parliament by Santorinios, Kathimerini newspaper reported.

    In October, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the post-World War I Lausanne Treaty, saying it was forced on Turkey by its opponents. He added that Turkey ceded islands with Turkish sanctuaries and mosques to Greece under the treaty.

    Following Erdogan's remarks about the 1923 treaty, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that the Turkish leader's statements threatened bilateral ties between Ankara and Athens.

    The Lausanne Treaty defined the boundaries of the modern state of Turkey and included provisions under which Ankara lost control over vast territories, which are now parts of Syria, Greece, Libya, Saudi Arabia and other countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.

    The Aegean dispute has been a major source of tension between Greece and Turkey since the 1970s, bringing the two countries to the brink of military confrontation in 1987 and 1996. Talks to resolve the issue began after 1999, when Turkey agreed to resolve the bilateral dispute as part of its accession deal with the European Union.

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