The Turkish authorities threatened Greece to “do what is necessary” if it does not stop the “militarization of the Aegean Islands”. The traditional aggravation of relations between the two states “sparkled” again. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Greece must take a step back and comply with the agreements, otherwise Turkey is ready to resolve the issue by force. Greece asked a response question – who is militarizing here and escalating the situation.
“Now is not the time for silence on the disarmament of the islands,” the Turkish foreign minister said, protesting what Ankara sees as a “military buildup in the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea” that are close to Turkey's coastline. The conflict has been at least a year old, but the parties exchange from time to time – and not only verbal threats. Recall that at the end of August, it came to Turkish air defense systems targeting Greek aircraft, and the media had already “dispersed the wave” about fired missiles and even a downed plane. In reality, this did not happen, but the signal is extremely alarming – and Turkey continues to disperse this topic. “They committed 147 airspace violations. If we are neighbors, if we are friends, why are you violating our airspace 147 times?” Turkish President Erdogan said. Read about his other reactions at this link.
The escalation continued until the end of September, when the Turkish National Security Council discussed and condemned the Greek deployment of armored fighting vehicles on the Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos. Dozens of armored vehicles were sent there: 23 armored personnel carriers to the island of Lesbos and 18 more to the island of Samos. “Turkish officials said the deployment is a violation of the non-military status of the islands under international law. Ankara summoned the Greek ambassador and protested to Washington,” Turkish media reported. Since the expected “cherry on the cake” – the deployed armored vehicles – are American (read the details here).
And again, the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry noticed that Greece had deployed military equipment on the islands, despite their demilitarized status. Greece, however, returned in response – that Athens does not provoke its neighbor by not accumulating a large landing fleet off its coast. “It is inconceivable that Greece can be blamed for heightening tensions in the Aegean when it is Turkey that directly raises questions regarding even the sovereignty of the Greek islands,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Will this “exchange lead to courtesies” to real consequences – remains in question. Europe can only hope that the main beneficiaries of the conflict are now very busy …
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