Turkish Defense Minister lashes out at Greece
Ankara will “never accept” any extension of Greece’s territorial waters, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said, adding that Turkey was on the alert against “hostile acts” from Greece.
“We are extending our hand in peace, Greece continues to escalate tensions. Wrong calculations will return from Ankara,” Akar said.
Speaking about Greece’s aims to extend territorial waters, Akar said:
“We will never accept an extension. You are talking about a Turkey with a coastline of more than 1,800 kilometers, and Turkey will enter international waters with your permission? Who would accept that?”
Urging the Greek political and military leadership to “abandon their intransigent and provocative attitudes for domestic political purposes,” the Turkish defense minister said that they should “learn from history, especially from what happened on September 9, 1922,” referring to Greek defeat in Western Turkey after WW1.
He went on to accuse Greece of harassing Turkish fighter jets in the context of NATO exercises, saying that “this hostile attitude shows that Greece has become so arrogant that it disregards the basic principles and values of NATO.”
“They want a maritime jurisdiction of 40 thousand square kilometers on the 10 square kilometer Meis Island, and they are arming the islands in violation of international agreements,” Akar said.
Akar also expressed Ankara’s annoyance with the United States and its deepening defense cooperation with Greece, noting that it used to have five bases in the country and now has nine. “It has also been said that Alexandroupoli is being planned as an LNG and logistics center… However, defense and security are also a matter of surveillance and prevention. Can’t [the bases] be used some other way? Yes. So we are watching and taking measures. Defense and security is an area where mistakes cannot be mended,” he said.