Turkey says Greece has been building a military presence in violation of treaties that guarantee the unarmed status of the Aegean islands. It argues the islands were ceded to Greece on the condition they remained demilitarized.
“We invite Greece to stop arming the islands that have non-military status and to act in accordance with international agreements,“ Erdoğan said on the final day of military exercises taking place near Izmir, on Turkey’s Aegean coast. “I’m not joking, I’m speaking seriously. This nation is determined.”
“We warn Greece to stay away from dreams, statements and actions that will lead to regret, as it did a century ago, and to return to its senses,” the Turkish leader said. A hundred years ago, Turkey defeated Greece after a three-year war that saw Greek armies invade western Turkey.
Erdoğan made the rare move of tweeting in Greek and English, saying: “As Turkey will not resign its rights in the Aegean, it will not hesitate either to make use of its rights arising from international treaties on the issue of the islands’ demilitarization.”
Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou commented that Erdoğan’s choice of Greek was “notable.”
Meanwhile, Erdoğan also reiterated Turkey’s determination to launch a new cross-border offensive in Syria with the goal of pushing back the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization- YPG- and creating a 30-kilometer (19-mile) buffer zone.
“We will never allow the establishment of terror corridors along our country’s borders, and we will definitely complete the missing parts of our security zone,” the Turkish leader said.
Erdoğan continued: “We hope that none of our real allies and friends will oppose our legitimate security concerns.”
Hurriyet Daily News