Turkish FM sends letter to EU, UN and NATO over alleged "escalation of tensions" by Greece

Turkish FM sends letter to EU, UN and NATO over alleged "escalation of tensions" by Greece
Update: 07 September 2022 00:57
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Two years after Turkish warships were accused of harassing a French frigate by locking-their radars onto it, it is now Turkey who accuses Greece of a similar harassment

A day after a senior European Union diplomat criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks against Greece, a letter signed by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, which "drew attention to the unlawful actions and maximalist demands of Greece", were sent to the officials of 25 European Union member countries," Turkish state news agency AA said on Tuesday.

The letter was also sent to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, permanent members of the UN Security Council, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Peter Stano, the Lead Spokesperson for the External Affairs of the EU, said on Monday that the hostile remarks by the political leadership of Turkey against Greece and the Greek people are a source of serious concern.

Erdogan had said, upon allegations by Turkish authorities that a Greek missile system in the island of Crete locked its radar on to Turkish fighter jets:

"We have only one thing to say to Greece: Remember Izmir (...) We don't care that you have invaded the islands, we'll do what's necessary when the time comes. Like we always say, we can suddenly come knocking one night."

According to AA's report, Cavusoglu's letter contended that "Greece is the only country in the world which has non-overlapping territorial waters and airspace borders that are not recognized by any other country."

"The letter affirmed that Ankara is pro-dialogue and cooperation despite Athens avoiding dialogue and escalating tensions while including the EU as part of Aegean problems," AA said.

Radar-locking: Second incident involving Turkey in the last two years

Ankara's recent claim that Turkish fighter jets were radar-locked by Greek missile system marks the second incident in the last two years in which a NATO member was allegedly targeted by another through such means.

France said in early July 2020 that its frigate Courbet was "lit up" three times by Turkish naval targeting radar on 10 June when the frigate tried to approach a Tanzanian-flagged civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking. The ship was being escorted by three Turkish warships. The Courbet backed off after the confrontation.

“France has not told the truth to the EU or to NATO,” Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said in response.

NATO investigated the incident, but NATO officials stated that the findings will not be discussed in public.

The EU later imposed sanctions on a Turkish shipping company accused of breaking a UN arms embargo on Libya and whose vessel was involved in the incident between France and Turkey in June.

“The Cirkin [cargo ship] has been linked to transports of military material to Libya in May and June 2020,” said the EU’s Official Journal, which published the sanctions.