Erdogan expresses regret over "secret invasion" of Greece
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his sorrow over what he called the "secret invasion" of Greece in an address he made on Tuesday.
Addressing the officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkish capital Ankara, Erdogan said:
"The arming of Western Thrace and the islands means nothing to us as our power and capabilities are way beyond that. However, we still want to note that this situation signifies a secret invasion of the country in question. In the end, we toiled for these lands for centuries, and we still have many people of the same descent, many fellow Muslims living there."
"We want to remind Greece, its prime minister and its head of state, who feel uncomfortable when the word 'Turk' is used in the name of an association or school in Western Thrace: Be wise. Do you think the support of the United States and Europe will save you? No, it won't. You'll only skid, nothing else."
Turkey recently lodged protest with the US and Greece over alleged military deployment in Aegean islands after some drone footage was released showing US-supplied armored vehicles being carried out of ships on Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos.
"The occupation-looking military buildups of foreign countries all over Greece should, in essence, disturb Greek people, not us," Erdogan said on Monday, referring to the US and NATO bases in Greece.
Muslim minority in Greece
While the population of the Turkish community in Greece is estimated to be 90,000-120.000, non-Turkish Muslim communities like Pomaks and Roma constitute approximately half of the total Muslim population in the country.
Due to the multi-ethnic character of the Muslim minority, which also includes Greek Muslims, the Government of Greece does not refer to it by a specific ethnic background.