ANKARA – Turkey shows no signs of backing off increasingly belligerent language aimed at Greece, now again insisting that Greece must remove military forces from Greek islands near Turkey’s coast.
This has been repeated a number of times with Turkey citing the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he doesn’t recognize unless invoking in his favor.
The Turkish Defense Ministry nonetheless reiterated its assertion that Greece can’t have troops on islands near the coast of Turkey, with Erdogan having openly said he covets their return and some Turkish officials not ruling out taking them by force.
Turkish Defense Ministry spokeswoman Major Pinar Kara accused Greece of “unlawful, provocative and aggressive” actions and said that since the beginning of the year that Greece has consistently violated the demilitarization regime of the islands, and called on Athens to “stop its illegal stance and start a dialogue with Turkey,” said Kathimerini.
“The Turkish Armed Forces in the Aegean and the Mediterranean will continue to protect the rights and interests of Turkey and the TRNC,” she said, in reference to the unrecognized occupied northern third of Cyprus.
Turkey is also drilling off Cyprus, which also pulled back demands for sanctions, letting Erdogan walk away from a showdown in Brussels with almost everything he wanted and Greece and Cyprus left with only vows of sanctions if the talks fail.