Erdogan’s ultranationalist ally threatens Greece with invasion of its Aegean islands
Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s far-right governing ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) threatened to drive Greece off its Aegean islands.
“Reaching from one side of the Aegean to the other is child's play for us," Bahceli said during a party rally in Turkey’s western Bursa on Sunday.
“Greece must stop treading on our toes. If they would like to be driven to the sea one more time, just let us know,” he said, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
The tensions between Turkey and Greece skyrocketed 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. While Greek authorities denied the allegations, Erdogan said Turkish forces could target Greece any moment if necessary.
Building up more tensions on Saturday, Turkish authorities said the Greek Coast Guard fired warning shots at a trade vessel 18 kilometers off Turkey's Tenedos island in northeastern Aegean Sea, calling on Greek authorities for an immediate explanation over the incident.
According to Greek City Times, the Comoros-flagged vessel was suspected of smuggling weapons from Turkey to Libya. Despite Turkey’s claims that it was sailing in international waters, the Ro-Ro ship "Anatolian” was within Greek territorial waters, a statement by the Greek Coast Guard said. The vessel was informed by a Greek patrol boat o stop his course for inspection, but it did not comply, the statement said.
Greece should immediately end its harassment and provocations against Turkey, Bahceli said.
Blaming Athens of “playing with fire,” Bahceli said Greece “Sits” on the Aegean islands “unlawfully.”
“Those islands are our right,” he said.
In July, Bahçeli posed next to a map titled “Our National Oath (Misak-ı Milli) in seas,” displaying many of Greek islands in the Aegean and Mediterranean as belonging to Turkey.
1-Liderimiz Sn. Devlet Bahçeli Beyefendi Bayram sabahında Ülkü Ocakları Genel Merkezimize teşrif ederek ziyarette bulundu.— Ahmet Yiğit Yıldırım (@ayyildirim1) July 10, 2022
Ziyaretlerinde “DENİZLERDEKİ MİSAKIMİLLÎMİZ” adlı çalışmamızı sunduk.#ÜlküOcaklarıHaritası pic.twitter.com/CZzo5VaVP2