“Do not miscalculate your position in the Aegean, or you will be sadly let down”
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar increased his rhetoric against Greece during a visit to Turkey’s fleet command and demanded its Western neighbor “not to miscalculate its position in the Aegean Sea.”
“Do not make any wrong calculations, do not follow any wrong path, take lessons from history and pull yourselves together before you are sadly let down,” Akar said, referring to the recent interest by the US to increase its presence in military bases across Greece.
During his visit, Akar entered a submarine and received information from the commander about its activities, and met with the submarine personnel.
“Important and comprehensive tasks await you. It is out of the question for us to take a step back in protecting and protecting our rights and interests in the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Cyprus. We have not let them violate our rights, and we never will," he said.
Greece and Turkey, which will both hold elections this year, have quarreled for decades over the Aegean islands.
The disputes have previously focused on territorial claims and airspace rights, often resulting in naval confrontations and aerial dogfights. This year Ankara has escalated complaints about Greece’s militarization of ilands close to its shores, such as the Dodecanese chain that includes Rhodes and the eastern Aegean islands including Lesbos, Chios and Samos.
Ankara says that Greece is forbidden from establishing a military presence on the islands under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, but Athens disagrees its ownership of the islands is not conditional on non-militarization and says it needs to be able to defend its territory, pointing to Turkey’s sizable military presence on the Aegean coast.