Turkey not up against Greece but all of Europe, NATO allies, Greek Premier says
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Turkey was not just up against Greece, but all of Europe and NATO allies.
Blaming Ankara of repeating its “lies and threats” against Greece, Mitsotakis said “Greece will remain calm and confident in positions backed by international law and not follow down the path chosen by Turkey,” during a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
“It [Turkey] will remain alone in this game. We will calmly and self-confidently rest in our clear positions with the strength of international law, the vigilance of our armed forces, the support of our allies,” he said, according to Greek Reporter.
Turkey and Greece, both NATO allies, have long been at odds over a string of issues, including the status of the Aegean islands. Turkey accuses Greece for militarizing its islands in violation of international treaties. Turkey says despite the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Treaty of Paris that require Greece’s eastern Aegean islands to remain demilitarised, Athens has armed 16 out of the 23 islands, in violation of international law. In response to Turkish claims, Greece says the restrictions no longer apply.
The Greek Prime Minister called on Turkey to opt for “the path of substantive dialogue.”
"Do you think the support of the United States and Europe will save you? No, it won't,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in response to Mitsotakis on Tuesday.
Blaming Greece for “secretly occupying” the Aegean islands and the Western Thrace via militarising them, Erdogan called on the Athens “to be wise.”
On Monday, Ankara lodged protests to Greece and the United States, after Turkish officials on Sunday released drone footage, allegedly showing US-supplied armored vehicles being carried out of ships on Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos. Summoning the Greek ambassador to Turkey, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the deployment was another violation of Greece's obligations under international law. Turkey also urged the US to respect for the status of Eastern Aegean islands and to take measures to prevent the use of its weapons there.
In a written statement on Monday, the United States reiterated calls on Turkey to respect its neighboring Greece’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Greece’s sovereignty over its Aegean islands is not disputed, US State Department said.