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Turkey’s Defense Minister Blames Greece for Growing Tensions

Αssociated Press

File- Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, center, with Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces Gen. Yasar Guler, left, and Gen. Umit Dundar sit in an operation room at army headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019. (Turkish Defence Ministry via AP, Pool)

ANKARA - Without mentioning Turkey keeps invading Greek airspace and plans to drill for energy off Greek islands, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Greece is responsible for provocations amid fears it could lead to a conflict.

In an interview with the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Sunday, Akar said Greece has stationed armed forces in 16 of 23 major eastern Aegean islands, violating a treaty that has called for their demilitarization, although Turkey doesn’t recognize United Nations laws of the seas nor the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne setting borders between the countries.

Akar also accused Greece of its “globally unprecedented” discrepancy in claiming a 10-mile national airspace, more than its 6-mile territorial waters. “Greece is our ally in NATO and we expect it to stay faithful to good neighborly relations and to treaties it has signed,” Akar added.

He made no mention of Turkey's Fourth, or Aegean, Army, headquartered in Izmir, in close proximity to the islands he accused the Greek government of unlawfully militarizing, said Kathimerini. Turkey has presented the Fourth Army as only a defensive, training formation.