ATHENS – Turkey, seeing the European Union giving a timid response to antagonizing Greece, will likely get bolder and more belligerent over the summer, said Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
That is seen including further violations of Greek airspace by sending fighter jets over Greek islands as NATO – the alleged defense alliance to which both belong – looking the other way.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also demanded that Greece remove troops from Aegean islands near Turkey’s coast, citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne he doesn’t recognize unless invoking to his advantage.
The belligerent Turkish leader said it would be a cause for war if Greece doubles its maritime boundaries to 12 miles and his talk has been getting tougher and even taunting although he broke off talking to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Dendias also said he thinks Erdogan, facing a reelection campaign in 2023 with inflation soaring, will escalate revisionism in what some analysts said would be a play to his conservative base to distract attention from the woeful economy.
Dendias said Erdogan’s populist rants seem convincing to his audience but that there’s a danger it could turn real and lead to a conflict, accidental or otherwise, the foreign chief told the newspaper Parapolitika, according to excerpts published in the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA.)
“We show on the maps the proof of Turkish aggression, we do not paint maps of the Aegean, changing the borders depending on the fantasy of the moment,” he was quoted as saying. “Actions that would have been simply ludicrous, if they were not so dangerous.”