MP’s Lausanne Treaty remark sparks row

Thu, 4 Jan 2024 8:56 GMT
His remarks provoked strong reactions from the far-right, as well as from leftist SYRIZA and socialist PASOK.
MP’s Lausanne Treaty remark sparks row

The controversy that followed New Democracy MP Angelos Syrigos’ claim that some articles of the Lausanne Treaty – notably the one on the extent of the military presence on the eastern Aegean islands – were out of date, has brought attention to the uncertainty surrounding the text of the 1923 agreement that established the borders of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. His assessment was that 97% of the Lausanne Treaty is obsolete, while emphasizing that the provision on the borders set then remains clearly in force.

His remarks provoked strong reactions from the far-right, as well as from leftist SYRIZA and socialist PASOK

“I said it is obsolete because all we are interested in from the Lausanne Treaty to this day is the border restriction provisions… It is a 101-year-old text. It has provisions on how to pay the Ottoman debt, how to exchange prisoners, what to do with the Allied cemeteries and on what to do with the companies that had contracts in the Ottoman Empire. All this is in the past,” Syrigos, an associate professor of international law, told state broadcaster ERT.

Regarding the demilitarization of the islands, he stressed that “it is outdated and that is why we do not discuss it and have excluded it, and this has been the official Greek position since 1995.”

“In contrast, Türkiye says that the Lausanne Treaty on this issue is not obsolete and invokes its provisions on demilitarization,” he said.

SYRIZA stressed that his statements confirm “the serious concerns” it has about the government’s stance. Syrigos, it said, contradicted Greece’s positions and left room for Turkey to exploit his statement in the context of its unacceptable position to revise the treaty, diverting the Greek-Turkish dialogue from the objective of appealing to The Hague on the continental shelf/EEZ. SYRIZA President Stefanos Kasselakis derided Syrigos’ statements as a “gift” to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


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