Question SYRIZA: The island of refugees in the land register

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The heads of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Citizen Protection and Immigration Policy of SYRIZA-PS G. Katrougalos, Th. Dritsas, H. Spirtzis and G. Psychogios, the former ministers of the SYRIZA governments D. Vitsas and G. Mouzalas and the Evros MP N Gara submitted a question today to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Citizen Protection, Immigration and Asylum, Environment and Energy, asking for clarifications on the sovereignty status of the island where the recent drama with the 39 refugees took place. Given that this islet is reportedly registered in the National Land Registry, as property of the Greek state, they ask the competent ministers to answer the following critical questions:

Is the registration of the island in the Greek Land Register contrary to the data of the Geographical Service of the Army? As long as there is a document from the Geographical Service, in which it is confirmed that the relevant coordinates belong to Turkish territory, based on the Protocol of 1926, to be presented to the Parliament.

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Finally, does the government consider that the islet in question is Greek territory, in the area recorded in the Land Registry and intends to ensure our sovereignty over it, or will it request an amendment to the Land Registry? In the first case, what are the consequences of the requests he submitted to the Turkish authorities, for Turkish services to operate on the island, in terms of sovereignty over it?

Here is the full text of the question:

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Question and Request to file a document

To the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, National Defence, Citizen Protection, Immigration and Asylum, Environment and Energy

Subject: Ownership of an islet in Evros

The recent drama of the Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Evros highlighted in the worst way the government’s tactic of distorting reality and then, victim of its falsehood, falling into unresolved contradictions. As of mid-July there were injunction decisions of the European Court of Human Rights App. 35090/22 KA v. Greece and App. 384444/22 BS and others v. Greece which explicitly referred to these refugees and prohibited their re-admission to Turkey.

At first the Government claimed that, if they exist, they are on an islet in the Evros within Turkish territory. After they did not exist or were not visible in ELAS monitoring media, not only on this islet but also in the wider area. Then they were “discovered” again when they crossed the Evros. And all this combined with a social media campaign where reports of the existence of the refugees and the death of a child appeared as fake news even though both were later confirmed by the government itself. A campaign of venomous comments, both at the expense of the NGOs and journalists who raised the issue, and at the expense of SYRIZA-PS.

A central element of the government’s narrative in official announcements was that the islet on which the refugees were stranded is Turkish territory, as according to an announcement by the Hellenic Republic of Greece on 14.8.2022, “the coordinates were given to the competent services of the Armed Forces, who pointed out that this is a point outside the Greek territory”.

However, this islet is reportedly registered in the National Land Registry, with the Greek government as owner and KAEK data 11035EK00075 (attached hereto). The coordinates of the recording are identical to the mark of metadata from videos and photos shared by the refugees on social media and specifically, indicatively, 41 deg 16′ 23.99” N 26 deg 25′ 45.72” E and 41 deg 16′ 23.2 N 26 deg 25’45.4” (attached are the relevant twitter posts with their metadata from 11/8/2022 and 9/8/2022). Obviously, the registration in the Land Registry has full evidentiary value, at least as far as the Greek authorities are concerned, not only for the ownership of the island but also for the sovereignty over it.

It is recalled that a similar, but opposite, case had also arisen in relation to the area of ​​Melissokomomos in Evros, when Verbal Communication No. 23423 had been served on the Turkish side (Ministry of Foreign Affairs document A.P. 23425 from 22.5.2020), which, however, the Ministry refused to disclose to the Parliament, despite the relevant 27-5-2020 document submission request of SYRIZA-PS. And then the government had chosen not to reveal the whole truth to the Greek people. He claimed that no soldiers of the Turkish Armed Forces had ever entered Greek territory, without explaining why, if so, the Turkish side had to be given a pass.

Following the above, the relevant ministers are asked:

Is the registration of the island in the Greek Land Register contrary to the data of the Geographical Service of the Army? As long as there is a document from the Geographical Service, in which it is confirmed that the relevant coordinates belong to Turkish territory, based on the Protocol of 1926, to be presented to the Parliament.
Finally, does the government consider that the islet in question is Greek territory, in the area recorded in the Land Registry and intends to ensure our sovereignty over it, or will it request an amendment to the Land Registry? In the first case, what are the consequences of the requests he submitted to the Turkish authorities, for Turkish services to operate on the island, in terms of sovereignty over it?

Source: Capital

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