Turkey’s top soldier visits Aegean islets of Kardak
ANKARAChief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar on Jan. 29 paid a visit to the disputed Aegean islets of Kardak, the Turkish Armed Forces has announced.
Accompanied by the commanders of the land, naval and air forces, Akar sailed to the islets of the Kardak region with two assault boats after conducting inspections on ships belonging to the Aksaz Naval Base Command, the military said in a statement.
On Jan. 20, Akar visited units in the southeastern province of Gaziantep and the southern provinces of Kilis and Adana near the Syrian border in order to carry out inspections as well as receive information regarding the ongoing Euphrates Shield operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Syria. He was accompanied by Land Forces Cmdr. Gen. Salih Zeki Çolak and Turkish Air Force Cmdr. Gen. Abidin Ünal.
The army chief later visited the İncirlik Air Base in Adana where he also conducted inspections.
The military quoted Akar as saying that Turkey had always regarded friendship and peace in all of its activities in the Aegean in terms of the mission to prevent its interests in sea.
It also stated that the Turkish Armed Forces was continuing to increase its efforts to prevent “attempts against the nation’s rights and interests.”
During his visit, Akar also noted that the Turkish military was an effective, dissuasive and prestigious power in the region, according to the statement.
The islets, Imia in Greek and Kardak in Turkish, are two small uninhabited rocks in the Aegean Sea, situated between the Greek island chain of the Dodecanese and the southwestern mainland coast of Turkey. Greece and Turkey nearly went to war over the islets in 1996 in an escalation that saw both sides embarking on a military landing on an islet each.