Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar has indirectly urged Greece not to make “miscalculations” amid a rise in tension between Turkey and Greece over the Aegean.
“We can conduct operations in Afrin [in northwest Syria]. We can conduct operations in [Turkey’s] east and southeast. If necessary, we will fulfill any duty that may be assigned to us in the Mediterranean and in the Aegean without hesitation. No one should make any miscalculation on this issue,” Akar was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu Agency on May 20.
Akara was speaking during a visit to the TCG Gaziantep battleship, which is taking part in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) White Strom military exercise in the Mediterranean Sea. He was accompanied by the force commanders of the land, navy and air forces.
He did not openly mention Greece but his remarks clearly referred to the country, as there has long been tension between the two NATO members over sovereignty claims on a number of disputed islets in the Aegean Sea.
“What is essential is good neighborly relations, friendship, and respect for human rights and international law. We are expressing our views on this issue at appropriate platforms. But we have always expressed that we are ready to use all the authorities pledged to us if dialogue and cooperation do not work,” Akar said.
Akar recently held an in-person meeting with his Greek counterpart Adm. Evangelos Apostolakis at the NATO headquarters on the margins of a NATO meeting.