German foreign ministry claims ignorance of Erdogan statement on Greek islands and Lausanne Treaty

A German foreign ministry spokesman on Friday declined to give any reply to questions on whether the islands of Chios, Lesvos and Limnos were Greek, while claiming ignorance of statements made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan disputing the division of the Aegean islands under the 1923 Lausanne Treaty.

“I do not know the statements of the Turkish president. I don’t want to doubt that he said this,” foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters when asked to comment. “For the German government I can say only that it is known that there have been differences for some time, for decades, differences of opinion between the two countries on delineating the borders between the two countries,” he said.

The German government considers that any differences between Greece and Turkey “should be resolved peacefully and otherwise refrains from expressing an opinion and definitely does not take anyone’s side,” he added.

When it was pointed out that Erdogan had referred specifically to islands, rather than borders, the spokesman again repeated ignorance of the statement and said he was therefore unable to give a response, repeating this when asked to say whether Chios, Lesvos and Limnos were Greek islands.