ΑΝΚΑΡΑ – Firing away on all cylinders, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he won’t hesitate to pull the trigger against Greece and warned it would be no contest because of his country’s overwhelming firepower.
He has been warning that his military “will come suddenly one night,” after alleging Greek defense forces locked on to Turkish fighter jets in a NATO exercise, is keeping armed forces on Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast and now has sent there armored vehicles acquired from the United States.
He escalated his already belligerent rhetoric after a Cabinet meeting as critics said he’s trying to deflect attention from a sinking economy, soaring inflation and other woes ahead of tough 2023 elections.
He said, reported the pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah that’s his mouthpiece, that it’s Greece provoking trouble while Greece said Turkish F-16s have continued to violate Greek airspace.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has been building up an arsenal and making foreign alliances, including a mutual defense pact with France and renewing a military cooperation deal with the US but Erdogan said that won’t help.
He said that Greece is being “dragged into a swamp with military buildups” and added: “We will not hesitate to utilize all available means to protect our country’s rights and interests against Greece, whereby necessary.”
He said that, “Greek officials, who exploit policies for political gain, will be held accountable,” and said that Greeks should be equally worried about their country’s military buildup.
Turkey said Greek troops on Greek islands is a violation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that Turkey doesn’t recognize unless citing to its advantage, and Turkey doesn’t accept the United Nations Law of the Sea either.
Turkey summoned the Greek Ambassador and protested to the US over what it said was the deployment of armored vehicles on Lesbos and Samos, where there are also refugee detention camps holding those sent by Turkey.
Greece said that was “completely unfounded and incompatible with international law,” and again said that Turkey is being aggressive and trying to incite more trouble, said Agence France-Presse.