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Erdogan Warns Greece to Stop Arming the Islands, Claims US Bases Target Turkey

Erdogan Greece Turkey
Credit: Turkish Presidency

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Greece on Thursday to stop arming the islands and threatened that Turkey will not hesitate to use its powers “stemming from international agreements.”

Speaking during the Efes-2022 military exercise held on the Aegean coast near Izmir, he said that Greece should stop arming the islands with nonmilitary status and abide by the international agreements.

Erdogan: I warn Greece to avoid acts that they will regret

“I warn Greece to avoid dreams, acts and statements that will result in regret. Come to your senses,” he said.

“Turkey will not renounce its rights in the Aegean and will not back down from using rights that are established by international agreements when it comes to arming islands,” he said.

Greece is acting as if it is making touristic landings on Aegean islands, he said and added addressing Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis: “You can’t get anywhere with this.”

“Some Greek politicians are trying to remain relevant with words and actions that are far from reality, contrary to logic and law,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan Greece Turkey
Erdogan watches Turkish helicopters fly by during the military drill near Izmir on Thursday. Credit: Turkish Presidency

“Turkey will not relinquish its rights in the Aegean Sea, will not hesitate to use its powers stemming from international agreements…Turkey does not violate anyone’s rights and laws but it does not allow the violation of its own rights and laws either,” he stressed.

Erdogan also noted that his country would continue hydrocarbon resources exploration in the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, citing international law.

Greece is violating treaties by arming islands in the Aegean, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu also said Tuesday, warning that the sovereignty of those islands will be questioned if it fails to demilitarize them.

Greece has been building a military presence on the Aegean islands in violation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the 1947 Paris Treaty, he said, adding that the islands were ceded to Greece on condition that they remain demilitarized.

“The agreements are there but Greece is violating them. It’s arming them. If Greece does not stop this violation, the sovereignty of the islands will be brought up for discussion,” he said. “It’s that clear. You will abide by the agreements.”

Related: Turkey’s Challenge of Greece’s Sovereignty Illustrated in 16 Maps

Erdogan claims US bases in Greece target Turkey

The Turkish leader also claimed on Wednesday that the US bases in Greece may be targeting his country instead of Russia.

“There are nine US bases right now. They were established in Greece. Against whom were they established? The answer they give is ‘against Russia.’ We don’t buy it, take no offense,” Erdogan said during a joint press conference with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Related: Greece Warns Turkey: We Are Reaching the Limits of Our Patience



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