December 10, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8403

Former Secretary General Of Turkish Defense Ministry, Writing Prior To Turkish President Erdoğan's December 2017 Visit To Greece: 'Greece Should Immediately Evacuate And Surrender To Turkey Three Quarters Of The Island Of Crete' And Five Islands Surrounding It (Archival)

December 10, 2019
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 8403

Writing in Issue 218 of the quarterly journal Birlik ("Unity"), which was released in the last quarter 2017, retired staff colonel and former secretary general for Turkey's Defense Ministry Ümit Yalım cited historical agreements to say, ahead of a December 2017 visit at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Greece, that three quarters of the island of Crete, as well as 14 other islands, islets, and bluffs now "under occupation" by Greece in fact belonged to Turkey.[1] Yalım called on Greece to evacuate three quarters of Crete as well as five large islands surrounding it and to withdraw its military units, including those at the Iraklion Air Station and those manning an S-300 air defense missile system on the island, from these places. The Birlik quarterly journal is published by the Association Of Retired Military Officers Of Turkey.[2]

On November 27, 2019, The Turkish government and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya signed an agreement apparently expanding Turkish influence to include, according to one Turkish commentator, the waters "within a few nautical miles of Crete."[3]

Following are excerpts from Yalım's article:

"Nowhere in the London Agreement does it say that the Island of Crete was abandoned to, given to, or connected to Greece. One quarter of the Island of Crete was given to Greece. Fourteen islands along with islets and bluffs stayed under Ottoman sovereignty...

Ümit Yalım included a map in his article to mark Greek territory that, in his view, belongs to Turkey.  

"According to the London agreement of May 30, 1913, the Bucharest Agreement of August 10, 1913, the Athens Agreement of November 14, 1913, and the Lausanne Agreement of July 24, 1923, which determine the legal status of the Island of Crete, only one quarter of the Island of Crete belongs to Greece...

"At the present time, Greece should immediately evacuate and surrender to Turkey three quarters of the Island of Crete along with the five Turkish islands, being Gavdos, Dia, Dionisades, Gaidhouronisi, and Koufonisia, that surround it and which it holds under occupation. It should also immediately evacuate all its military units, including the Iraklion Air Station, which is in the Turkish region of the Island of Crete, and the S-300 air defense missile battery that it placed in the Turkish region of the Island in 1999."


[1], December 7, 2017;, October 2017.

[2], accessed December 9, 2019.

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