In a swipe aimed at the United States after the Friday passing of the Armed Forces Bill, which contained sanctions against Turkey, the top advisor to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that his country would “teach all the Americans how to swim in Aegean waters.”
Mesut Hakki Caşın, one of Erdogan’s top aides, who has said previously that he would personally execute Greek soldiers, made the remark apparently in response to the US Senate’s almost unanimous passing of the gargantuan bill, which stipulates that Turkey must face sanctions for its 2019 purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system.
The bill passed with much more than a two-thirds majority, which means that it cannot be vetoed by the President, who had threatened in the past to do so.
Erdogan’s adviser stated the day after the bill was voted into effect American troops would face the same treatment that Greeks received back in 1922, when the entire population of Smyrna was rounded up and forced into the harbor area of the city.
Caşın boasted on live television “Our two battalions would invade there and teach all the Americans how to swim in Aegean waters.”
Approximately 100,000 ethnic Greek people died as a result of the Smyrna fire and being drowned as they desperately tried to make it onto boats and ships in the harbor.
Turkish officials often use the phrase as they recall how Turkish troops routed the Greek people from their ancestral homeland, saying that they “threw the Greeks into the sea” or “taught Greeks how to swim.”
Caşın, who is a member of Turkey’s Presidential Board for Security and Foreign Policy, openly stated that American military bases in the country might be closed.
“We can also close our (military) bases (to US troops). Let the US take its radar (the NATO radar base in Kürecik) away. The radar does not work for us anyway,” he complained.
Caşın continued, saying “İncirlik (air base) as well. İncirlik is not as important as in the Cold War, but I will say this,” he stated, asking “Why should we protect the Americans in İncirlik after the US already took the Patriot (missiles) away?”
“They already reduced their troops there,” he said. “There are (US) bases in Bulgaria and Romania. (Former US Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice said they are our best friends.”
“But how will they bring ships when the Straits are closed?” the advisor warned in an oblique threat that the waters might be blocked by Turkey in retaliation for the sanctions.
“About Greece,” Caşın continued, “I said this ten times before about Crete. It is 260 km (162 miles) by 65 km (40 miles). With the air defense the US deploys there, it is not possible to control the area or Alexandroupolis,” he threatened.
“Our two battalions would invade there and teach all the Americans how to swim in Aegean waters,” he said.
Turkish President #Erdogan's advisor Mesut Hakki Casin threatens the US with base closures, says Turkey does not need to protect US troops deployed in #Turkey, vows to invade #Greece's north to chase American troops away from there while blocking access of US navy to Black Sea. pic.twitter.com/QaLoavxRzu
— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) December 13, 2020