Turkish Defense Minister accuses Greece of expansionism
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that no matter how much the Greek administration tried to bolster the military capabilities of Greece, it would be insufficient to challenge the Turkish Armed Forces.
Speaking to Turkish state news agency AA on Monday on several issues, Akar accused Greece of "expansionism" because of its sovereignty over hundreds of Aegean islands, particularly those in close proximity to Turkey's coasts.
"You'll arrive at point blank range through three thousand islands in the Aegean, and you'll still label Turkey as an expansionist country. This is truly nonsense (...) You just need to have a look at the map to see the process that began in 1832 and which is still in progress. The entire Aegean has been occupied. Who is the expansionist?"
Remarking that "injustices should be observed," Akar criticized Greek sovereignty over the island of Megisti (Kastellorizo), 2 km off the coast of Turkey with about 500 Greek residents, colonized by Dorian Greeks some thousands of years ago, and said:
"It is an island of 10 square kilometers. It is 1,950 m from the Turkish coast. The students in our military college are trained to swim 2,000 m. So they can swim to that island."
Akar also criticized the Greek administration for ramping up military spendings in the last couple of years. he said:
"There is a five fold increase [in military spendings]. We are telling them, 'Do not sweat, stop these futile efforts.' Such efforts are too little for Turkey, for the Turkish Armed Forces, and too much for defense."