Athens was told by the Turkish leader to cease militarizing its Aegean Islands.
Recep Tayyip Turkey Erdogan used the closing day of the major military exercises at the Aegean sea to send a warning message to Greece. He accuses Greece of militarizing the islands.
“I warn Greece to avoid dreams, acts and statements that will result in regret. Come to your senses,”Erdogan made the remarks on Thursday while televising a speech from his western Izmir home, as he watched the Efes-2022 wargames.
Turkey has criticized Athens over its increased military presence on Aegean Islands. It called this violation of treaties which saw these islands handed to Greece during the first half 20th century.
“We invite Greece to stop arming the islands that have non-military status and to act in accordance with international agreements,”The Turkish leader stated. “I’m not joking, I’m speaking seriously. This nation is determined.”
While both Turkey and Greece are NATO member countries, relations between the neighboring nations have been difficult. These were complicated by a dispute over mineral exploration right in the eastern Mediterranean as well as rival territorial claims within the Aegean.
In recent weeks tensions have escalated between Ankara & Athens, as both sides trade accusations of violating airspace.
“Turkey won’t renounce its rights in the Aegean and won’t back down from using rights that are established by international agreements when it comes to arming islands,” Erdogan insisted.
Since May 20, the Efes-2022 drills are being held near Izmir. These drills have been attended by more than 10,000 troops, including 37 from Turkey.
Giannis Okonomou, spokesperson of the Greek government stated that Athens is dealing with what he described as Turkish “provocations”With “calm and determination.”
“It is clear to everyone that our country has upgraded its geostrategic and geopolitical footprint as well as its deterrent capacity to be able at any time to defend its national sovereignty and sovereign rights,” Oikonomou claimed.
Athens maintains that Turkey intentionally misunderstook the Aegean Islands treaties; it also asserts that it has the right to defend itself against any threat from Turkey.
Erdogan also lashed at America Wednesday for its military ties in Greece. “Whom have they been deployed against? They assert that [it’s]Russia. But we won’t buy that,”The Turkish leader stated.