Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a warning against Greece over what Ankara calls recent “harassment” of Turkish fighter jets in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean.
“Hey Greek, look at history. Go back to history. If you go too far, it will cost a lot. We have only one sentence for Greece, don’t forget Izmir,” Global Times quoted Erdogan as saying during the aerospace and technology festival Teknofest in the Black Sea province of Samsun.
Erdogan was referring to the withdrawal of the Greek army from Turkey’s western province of Izmir during the country’s Independence War in 1922.
“Occupying the islands does not bind us. We will do what is necessary when the time comes. As we say, we can come suddenly one night,” he added, as per the report.
On Saturday, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement regarding Turkish officials’ remarks.
“Greece will not join Turkey in the slide containing outrageous and beyond-all-limits remarks and threats, taking place on a daily basis. We will immediately inform our allies and partners regarding the content of the provocative statements of the last few days, in order to make clear who is undermining our alliance’s cohesion at a particularly dangerous juncture,” said the statement.
“At the same time, we will continue to serve as a pillar of stability and security for the wider region, on the basis of the rules of International Law and the International Law of the Sea,” it said.
Turkey recently accused Greece of harassing twice the Turkish jets carrying out NATO missions over the Aegean and Mediterranean.
The report quoting Ankara said the Greek warplanes were locking their radars on Turkish F-16s on Aug 22 and Aug 24, while Athens rejected the claims.
The relations between the two NATO allies have long been at odds over a series of issues, including maritime and energy disputes in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.
To seek out diplomatic solutions to their disputes, the two countries restarted their consultative talks in 2021 after a five-year break.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also initiated a military-to-military de-confliction mechanism between Turkey and Greece, but meetings within the mechanism have stalled since the end of the fourth round.
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