Turkey warns Greece against militarization of Aegean islands, asks it to respect international treaties

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Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Greek leaders to demilitarize the Aegean islands, stressing that he was not kidding with the warning. In a televised address broadcast across the country, Erdogan warned Greece to “avoid dreams, deeds and statements that will bring regret.” “Come to your senses,” he said. In particular, the 68-year-old leader, who faces the ballot in a year, has hardened his rhetoric against his western neighbor.

“We call on Greece to stop arming islands that have non-military status and to act in accordance with international agreements,” he said. “I’m not kidding, I’m serious. This nation is determined,” he added.

“Provocation”

In a later tweet, Erdogan claimed: “As an ally who has paid the highest price in NATO, we have calmly welcomed the provocations of Greece, which has not even responded to the invitations of our military delegation over the past 2 years. However, we see that our counterpart is misinterpreting our patience and calm.” He backed up his point by adding that Athens continues to pressure the Turkish minorities in Western Thrace, Rhodes and Kos, in defiance of international agreements, universal human rights and the values ​​of the European Union.

Ankara has accused Athens of building clandestine military outposts on the otherwise neutral islands. He backed up his position by saying he ceded the islands to Greece on the sole condition of keeping them demilitarized. On Thursday, Erdogan said: “Turkey will not give up its rights to the Aegean Sea and will not give up the use of rights established by international agreements when it comes to arming islands. Meanwhile, Athens pleaded its case saying that Turkey had misinterpreted international agreements and that it had legal grounds to justify the military build-up. The Mitsotakis administration has also touted a possible Turkish declaration of war.

The relationship between Greece and Turkey has alternated between periods of hostile acts and reconciliation since Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. The two countries have been marred by a dispute over the Aegean Sea and its hydrocarbon resources, and the possession of Cyprus, among others.

(Picture: AP)

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