ANKARA – Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay repeated demands for Greece to remove troops from islands near Turkey’s coast and disputed waters around Kastellorizo and Oinousses in the eastern Aegean.
In an interview on Turkish TV, he challenged the Greek islands’ right to a continental shelf because of their proximity to the Turkish mainland.
“You can hear the cock crow,” he said of Kastellorizo which is located only two kilometers (1.25 miles) from Turkey’s southern coast, a distance that Turkish officials earlier said could be swum by Turkish naval cadets.
“Turkey cannot back down (from its Aegean claims,” Oktay said, accusing Greece of displaying a “selfish and spoiled attitude” by claiming that Greek waters are Greek.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has openly coveted return of some islands ceded to Greece under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne Turkey no longer recognizes unless citing to its advantage.
Oktay Turkish calls that Greece has an obligation to demilitarize its eastern Aegean islands – under the treaty Turkey doesn’t accept – while saying that Greece has used it as a legal claim to the islands.
“Turkey is taking the necessary steps. It knows the game and it will do what it has to do,” he said, repeating constant bluster from a range of Turkish officials generally ignored by Greece.