ATHENS – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his belligerent tone toward Greece which he said is being manipulated to cause commotion between the countries over Aegean and East Mediterranean Seas dispute.
“Those who sow unrest in the Aegean at every opportunity with their harassment and rudeness are only pawns,” said Erdogan in the newest in a line of shots at Greece for seeking international alliances.
Speaking at a military ceremony in Istanbul, he said that tensions in the East Mediterranean – where Turkey has been unlawfully drilling for energy off Cyprus and said it would do the same off Greek island – were designed to undermine Turkish interests, said reports from Kathimerini and Turkey’s Anadolu agency.
“We know very well why the EU, which we are waiting to join, excludes us and includes countries that cannot be compared to us,” he added. He didn’t mention that Turkey’s prospects of joining the European Union, which began in 2005, have worsened under his authoritarian government.
He’s been particularly bristling over what he claimed were Greek missile defense systems locking on to Turkish F-16’s accompanying American B-52 bombers in a NATO mission, which Greece denied doing.
Erdogan said that was a “hostile act,” in keeping with his tactics of making claims without offering proof, irked after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in May, addressing the US Congress, asked lawmakers not to approve the sale of more F-16’s to Turkey.
Besides making a mutual defense pact with France, and purchasing French-made Rafale fighter jets and warships, Greece renewed a military cooperation deal with the US and made alliances with other countries to thwart Turkish aggression.