ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, called Monday on Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to clarify whether a map displayed by a nationalist ally of Erdogan’s that showed several major, inhabited Greek islands as Turkish is official Turkish policy.
“Carefully observe this map. Crete, Rhodes, Lesvos, Chios, Samos, all these islands ‘absorbed’ by Turkey. An extremists’ delirium or Turkey’s official policy? Another provocation or the real target? President Erdogan must clarify his position with respect to the ludicrous antics of his junior coalition partner,” Mitsotakis said in his post on Twitter.
Adding to the growing tension between the countries, yesterday, top officials of a party in Turkey’s ruling coalition put out a map showing ownership of Greek territory, including half the Aegean and the island of Crete.
Greek diplomatic sources not named expressed unhappiness to the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA).
They added the map is “part of an escalation of the extreme Turkish rhetoric that we are witnessing on a daily basis,” that has seen nationalists even demanding Turkey take back islands in the Aegean.
The images were made public during the visit of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, a coalition partner of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the headquarters of the ultranationalist Grey Wolves.
Bahceli was photographed next to the map that adds to Turkey’s so-called Blue Homeland doctrine claiming Greek seas and territories and Erdogan wanting the return of some islands given Greece under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that he doesn’t accept.
Greece and Turkey have been at loggerheads for decades over a series of issues, including disputes over undersea exploration rights in the Aegean Sea and the sovereignty of uninhabited islets. The two neighbors have come to the brink of war three times in the past half century.
Tensions have again increased over the past two years. Recent quarrels have focused on Greek islands off Turkey’s coast, where Ankara accuses Athens of maintaining a military presence in violation of treaties. Greece counters it is acting according to international law and is defending its islands in the face of Turkish hostility.