The EU voiced concern on Monday over what it called “hostile remarks” by Turkey against Greece.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Greece of occupying demilitarized islands in the Aegean and said Turkey was ready to “do what is necessary” when the time came.
“The continuous hostile remarks by the political leadership of Turkey against Greece…raise serious concerns and fully contradict much-needed de-escalation efforts in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Peter Stano, spokesman for European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, said in a statement.
“Threats and aggressive rhetoric are unacceptable and need to stop,” he added, emphasizing EU demands that differences be settled peacefully and in full respect of international law.
“The EU reiterates its expectation from Turkey to seriously work on de-escalating tensions in a sustainable way in the interest of regional stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all EU member states,” Stano said.
The EU response followed a barrage of threatening statements by Erdogan. On Saturday, an infuriated Erdogan accused Greece of “occupying” the islands.
“We have only one word [for] Greece: Do not forget Izmir” (Smyrna in Greek), Erdogan said, referring to the end of the Greek occupation after Turkish forces entered the city on the Aegean coast in 1922.
“Your occupation of the islands does not bind us,” Erdogan said.
Greece launches information campaign on Turkey’s aggression
Greece reacted by saying it will not follow Turkey in its “outrageous daily slide” of statements and threats.
Athens is also responding to the barrage of aggressive statements by sending letters to all members of the UN Security Council, to Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Foreign Ministry sources announced on Monday.
According to the same sources, the letters simply quote the original statements by Turkish officials without any further comment. These are so “outrageous” that no further comment is necessary, the sources maintain.