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Politics

Hostile Turkey Accuses Greece of Threats, Provocations, Aggression

Without noting constant violations of Greek air space and waters with fighter jets and warships, Turkey's Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said it's Greece that's at fault for tension between the countries and disputes over the seas.

Turkey's pro-government The Daily Sabah newspaper, that's a propaganda mouthpiece for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who doesn't want any independent media, Akar said Greece keeps using threatening language without citing any examples.

"Greece should see that it cannot get anywhere with expansionist attitudes, approaches and provocative behaviors and these policies are far from mathematical, reason and understanding, and mean nothing but chasing a vain hope," Akar said in Edirne, a northwestern province bordering Greece.

He was there with Army Generals to inspect the area where Erdogan in February, 2020 sent 10,000 refugees and migrants and urged them to cross before they were repelled by Greek riot police and Army units.

Akar, who has spoken in menacing tones against Greece, said Turkey wants good neighborly relations although Erdogan said after a pause that he will again send energy research vessels and warships off Greek islands to hunt for energy.

“We wish and aim that both countries’ people live in welfare, but we have difficulty in explaining this,” Akar said.

"We expect everyone, especially the administrators of our neighbor Greece, to see that having good relations with neighbors is also important for the people of neighboring countries. But unfortunately, we constantly face provocations, unlawful aggressive actions and discourse from the Greek side."

He said Turkey hasn't violated Greek air space and waters. “They make demands as if they are the sole owners of the Aegean and engage in efforts to militarize all islands. They make constant accusatory statements and provocations against Turkey,” he said.

Akar said that Greece has militarized 16 islands out of 23 that are under demilitarized status according to agreements that Turkey doesn't recognize. “It is not possible to accept this,” he said.

Earlier this year, Turkey and Greece launched the first direct exploratory talks in nearly five years to try to resolve disputes over the Eastern Mediterranean that became non-committal chit-chats that failed.

The two countries have also been holding rounds of meetings on confidence-building measures as well as deconfliction mechanisms that also haven't done anything to resolve differences.

Akar also again accused Greece of pushing back refugees and migrants that Turkey lets human traffickers keep sending to Greek islands under an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal with the European Union.

"We expect everyone, especially the European Union, to assume responsibility on this issue," he said, accusing Greece of inhumane practices that the New Democracy government has denied.

Both countries are anxious that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan will lead to another tsunami of refugees and migrants coming their way. Turkey already is containing some 4.4 million who fled war, strife and economic hardships in their homelands but lets smugglers keep sending more to Greek islands without being penalized.

Akar said that Greece has been protecting many terrorists for years, including members of what Turkey calls the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) it said was behind a failed 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan's regime.

"And yet, it is not credible and moral that the Greek administrators seem to complain about the spread of terrorism, religious fanaticism and fundamentalism. This is a hypocritical attitude that does not reflect the facts," he also stated.

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