Greece blames Ankara of escalating tensions with Athens for domestic consumption

Greece blames Ankara of escalating tensions with Athens for domestic consumption
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Greek Government’s spokesperson Oikonomou responded Turkish FM’s “warning” Greece of Turkey’s “tragic enmity”

The Greek Government’s spokesperson Giannis Oikonomou said the primary purpose of Turkey’s escalating rhetoric against Greece could be for its “domestic consumption.”

“We give Ankara’s rhetorical frenzy the attention it deserves,” Oikonomou said on Monday, in response to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s remarks that warned Greece of Turkey’s “tragic enmity.”

“It is for domestic consumption or part of an effort to construct a reality that is based on fallacies,” Oikonomou said, according to Kathimerini newspaper.

Earlier on Monday, Cavusoglu reverberated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest rhetoric and “warned” Greece of the "consequences" for its actions, during a speech in capital Ankara. 

“The Greeks still have an itch to scratch. If you set out on an adventure on behalf of others, you will suffer the consequences, as in the past. This is a warning to our neighbor Greece,” Cavusoglu said. 

“Do not become instruments of others, stop your provocations. Turkey’s friendship is good, but its enmity is tragic. Let’s keep this in mind,” he said, Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported

“The government responds wherever it must in the appropriate way,” Oikonomou said.

“Our country is responsibly, decisively, a stabilizing factor,” he said. 

The tensions between Turkey and Greece have built up 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.  On Saturday, Turkish authorities also accused the Greek Coast Guard firing shots at a trade vessel 18 kilometers off Turkey's Tenedos island in the Aegean.

On Monday, Erdogan’s far-right governing ally Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli also 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.

Greece and Turkey are embroiled in disputes over a string of issues, including territory, airspace, the status of Aegean islands and hydrocarbon exploration rights in Eastern Mediterranean. The two resumed talks last year, in an effort to resolve their differences, however, Erdogan in June announced that Ankara has halted the bilateral initiative, after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called on the US Congress to reject to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. Mitsotakis "no longer exists" for him, Erdogan said.