Erdogan says Greece is not Turkey’s equal
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Greece that has recently “stepped up its harassment and rudeness” towards Turkey,
is not at his country’s level.
“It is not our equal politically, economically, or militarily," Erdogan said after a cabinet meeting in capital Ankara on Monday, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Turkey and Greece are trading barbs since Ankara accused Athens of harassing Turkish fighter jets with Russian S-300s on Aug. 23, during engaged in missions in international airspace over the eastern Mediterranean. Greek authorities denied the allegations.
Commenting on the issue on the weekend, Erdogan said Turkish forces could target Greece any moment if necessary.
“You occupying the islands doesn’t bind us. When the time comes, we’ll do what’s necessary. As we say, we may come down suddenly one night,” Erdogan said, prompting immediate reactions from Greece and international community.
"Greece will not join Turkey in the slide containing outrageous and beyond-all-limits remarks and threats, taking place on a daily basis. We will immediately inform our allies and partners regarding the content of the provocative statements of the last few days, in order to make clear who is undermining our alliance’s cohesion at a particularly dangerous juncture,” Greek Foreign Ministry said in response to Erdogan’s remarks.
The Czech Republic that holds the EU Presidency since July, slammed Erdogan for threatening of EU member states, saying this is unacceptable.
Tensions between Turkey and Greece have further strained this year over a range of issues, including territorial claims. While the two neighboring NATO allies blame each other of violating their airspace, Turkey also accuses Greece for militarizing its islands in violation of international treaties.