ANKARA – Turkey continues to suggest military action against Greece in disputes over the seas, drilling for energy and demanding Greek troops be taken off Aegean islands, claiming a conflict would be done in “self-defense.”
While Turkey has been the provocateur, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar threatened a strike if Greece doesn’t remove its forces from the islands near Turkey’s coast, said Kathimerini of the escalating rhetoric.
“Doesn’t that create the right for self-defense? Isn’t installing weapons in front of our noses a threat to our country?” he said, accusing Greece of “aggressive rhetoric” while increasing its defense budget which he said shows Greece is “up to something” against Turkey but didn’t say what.
“They are in a calculation against Turkey in their own way. There is a five-fold increase in the armament budget,” Akar told the Anadolu Agency.
“They are in a calculation against Turkey in their own way. There is a five-fold increase in the armament budget. We say that this is less for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and Turkey, but a lot for defense,” Akar said.
He also reiterated claims that Greece is trying to keep Turkey from getting US-made F-16 fighter jets after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in an address to the US Congress urged the sale pushed by President Joe Biden be vetoed.
“(Greece)not only went to the US to tell them not to give us the F-16s, they also went to Germany and asked them not to give us the submarines,” Akar said, accusing Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias of “using aggressive rhetoric and aggressive actions to spoil the potential positive climate that could be created between the two countries.”