EK II : 16 Şubat 1996 Tarihli Yunan Notası
EMBASSY OF GREECE
The Embassy of Greece in Ankara presents its compliments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with respect to its Verbal Note DHGY-II-180 dated 29.1.1996, has the honour to bring to its attention the following:
The Embassy wishes to reiterate and confirm the contents of its Verbal Note 155/3/50 dated 9.1.1996, with respect to the validity and applicability of the two 1932 Italio-Turkish agreements concerning the Dodecanese. In particular:
1. The Assertion that the 1932 Italio- Turkish agreements "were negotiated within the context of the particular political situation of the pre-second World War era" does not have any legal significance. Indeed, agreements regarding frontiers and territorial regimes are governed by the principle of stability and are permanent and unchangeable. This rule of General International Law has been expressly codified in article 62 (2) A1.1 of the Vienna convention on the Law of Treaties of 23 May 1969, as well as in articles 11 and 12 of the Vienna Convention on succession of states in respect of Treaties of 23 August 1978.
2. Concerning the allegation that the legal procedures with regard to the Italio-Turkish agreement of December 28, 1932 were not completed, and that it was not should be made: The Agreement of December 28, 1932 which was concluded by virtue of the exchange of the Agreement of January 4, 1932, was complementary to the Agreement of January 4, 1932 which was duly ratified by both parties and registered with the Secretariat of the League of Nations. Consequently, and as the Agreement of December 28, 1932 simply referred to a matter of maritime delimitation in a region where, as its text itself and the exchanged letters mentioned above affirm, no dispute whatsoever existed with regard to sovereignty, it needed no further approval by the parties. Furthermore, from the text of the Agreement of December 28, 1932 which is a complete international conventional instrument, it is evident that the intention of the parties was to put it into effect as from its signature, as indeed was done. For the same reasons, registration with the League of Nations was not needed in this case.
The above constitute an irrefutable truth and Greece has never had any doubts as to the validity of the archives has not revealed the existence of any formal correspondence of 1950 or 1953, nor at any other time, inviting Turkey to talks with a view to confirming the validity of the said agreements. But even if such an invitation had indeed been made, this in no way could affect the validity of agreements in force. As a matter of fact, succession by Greece in the above mentioned agreements was immediate and direct, in accordance with General International Law.
3. Moreover, Turkey in the period 1932 - 1947 and thereafter, until the Imia incident, had not challenged the validity of these agreements. The same holds true for Italy and for the period she was exercising her sovereignty over the Dodecanese Islands. On the contrary, it should be added that Turkey not only in 1932, but also, in 1950, had accepted that there already existed maritime delimitation in the region. This is proved by the Regional Air Navigation Agreement of the Second Middle East Regional Air Navigation Meeting held in Istanbul in 1950, and adopted by the ICAO Council, that the Athens/Istanbul FIR border line coincide with the Turkish Western frontiers in the area, as evidenced by the relevant ICAO map (No 7), and by the official Turkish International Air Navigation map of 1953 published in Ankara. Such a maritime delimitation is also depicted in the official Turkish map attached to the annual report of 1953 on the navigation of ships across the "Strait of Istanbul, the Strait of Canakkale and Marmara Sea", in accordance with the Montreux Convention of 1936. In all these maps, as well as in other Turkish and International Official Maps, the Imia rocks are depicted as belonging to Greece.
4. With respect to the argument concerning Greek proposals submitted during the 1947 Peace Conference to make specific reference to the 1932 agreements, it must be said that the non-inclusion of such reference in the text of the 1947 Peace Treaty, in no way affects the validity of these agreements. The Conference simply preferred for reasons of simplicity and brevity to stay with the corresponding text of Article 15 of Lausanne Peace Treaty, under which the Dodecanese and its adjacent islets were ceded to Italy. To add that the 1947 peace treaty did not include in its provisions pertaining to the cession of territory any mention of other international agreements, without of course this omission having any bearing on their validity.
5. The Imia rocks undoubtedly form part of a chain of islands, islets and rocks of the Dodecanese complex and constitute adjacent islets within the meaning of Article 14 Para 1 of the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty. This fact had been expressly recognized by the Italio-Turkish agreement of December 28, 1932, by referring explicitly to Italian sovereignty over Imia. Furthermore, according to the 1923 Lausanne Peace Treaty, Turkish sovereignty is retained, apart from Imbros, Tenedos and Rabbit Islands, only over the islands lying within a 3 mile limit off the Turkish coasts. In this respect, Greece recognizes titles of sovereignty as provided by International Treaties only, not on other extra-legal criteria, such as that of distance (without any legal reference), as mentioned in the Turkish Verbal Note in question, the figures of which are in any case inaccurate.
6. The legal regime of islands is clearly defined and no legal uncertainty exists over it. Moreover all islands, inhabited or not, independently of how they are termed (islets, rocky islands, rocks, etc. -these terms having only geographical and not legal connotation), and irrespectively of their size, are accorded the same legal treatment by both the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 and the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947. Consequently, there is absolutely no vacuum with regard to the legal regime of the islands, as set out above, in the entire Aegean area.
7. Reference is also made in the Turkish Note concerning the demilitarization of the Dodecanese. In this respect, the Embassy would like to recall and confirm the contents of its Verbal Note 158/19/2376 dated 9.9.1993, as well as its previous Verbal Notes on the matter. In addition, the recent resolution of the Turkish National Assembly (June 8, 1995) authorizing the Turkish government to use all means, including the military ones against Greece in case she exercises her legitimate right to extend her territorial waters, as well as the Imia incident itself, confirm beyond any doubt that the Greek argumentation on the matter is both legitimate and justified.
In view of the above, Greece rejects the Turkish allegations and consequently she declares that she is not inclined to negotiate in any manner questions related to her territorial sovereignty based on the International Law and Treaties.
The Embassy of Greece in Ankara avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the assurances of its highest consideration.
Ankara, 16 February 1996