Turkey warns Greece against taking ‘regrettable’ actions
While referring to the Greek withdrawal during the Turkish War of Independence, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on June 9 warned Greece not to dream or take actions that will make it regret in the future.
“We warn Greece once more to avoid dreams, statements and actions that will lead to regret, as it did a century ago, and to return to its senses,” Erdoğan tweeted in three languages: Turkish, Greek and English.
Turkey neither violates anyone’s rights or law nor lets anyone violate its own, the president said.
“Turkey will not relinquish its rights in the Aegean and will not refrain from using the powers granted to it by international agreements for the armament of the islands when necessary,” he stated.
Greece and Turkey are NATO allies but have a history of disputes over a range of issues, including mineral exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and rival claims in the Aegean Sea.
The two countries came close to war three times in the past half-century, the last being in 1996 over the ownership of an uninhabited eastern Aegean islet. But Ankara has recently been questioning Greece’s sovereignty over large, inhabited Greek islands — Rhodes, Kos and Lesbos, for example, would meet the description of “militarized” islands.
Turkey has been slamming Greece for violating the 1923 Lausanne and 1947 Paris treaties that prohibit Greece from deploying weapons on certain islands with close proximity to the Turkish mainland.
Turkey and Greece had launched a new dialogue in early 2021 following a year-long tension in the eastern Mediterranean due to overlapping continental shelf claims. The process brought about a common effort to promote the economic and trade ties in the context of positive agenda. However, a quarrel over the demilitarized status of some of the Greek islands near the Turkish coast has heightened the tension again recently.
Turkey has sent two letters indicating that Greece violates the international law by arming the islands with the demilitarized status in the Aegean Sea, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on June 7.
“The reason Greece is becoming much more aggressive is the fact that they fail to bring about a legal explanation over why they are arming the islands in the Aegean,” Çavuşoğlu said.
“Greece should disarm these islands. If not, the sovereignty of these islands will be open to discussion. That’s what we clearly tell Greece,” Çavuşoğlu stated.