Further escalating Turkish rhetoric against Greece, on Sunday, Erdogan warned that Turkish missiles could hit Athens if its neighbor doesn’t “stay calm.”
“Now we have started to make our own missiles,” the Turkish President said during a speech on Sunday in Samsun in northern Turkey. “Of course, this production scares the Greeks. When you say ‘Tayfun,’ the Greek gets scared and say, ‘It will hit Athens.’ Well, of course, it will.”
Tayfun, which is Turkish for “typhoon” is a short-range ballistic missile developed by Turkey. The missile, which was test-fired in October over the Black Sea and hit a target at a distance of about 560 kilometers, a range more than double that of the current missiles in Turkey’s arsenal.
“If you don’t stay calm, if you try to buy something [to arm yourself] from here and there, from America to the islands, a country like Turkey will not be a bystander,” Erdogan added. “It has to do something.”
First warning by Erdogan that Turkey could hit Greece with missiles
This is not the first time Erdogan threatened Greece with a missile strike. In early November, he claimed that the newly-tested ballistic missile has “Athens within its range.”
In speaking during a joint live broadcast on the ATV and Haber channels, Erdogan referred to the Tayfun, claiming that it has frightened Greece.
“The range of 561 kilometers (348.56 miles) is to be extended further…Of course, these 561 kilometers started to frighten the Greeks because Athens is completely within its range, [and] they gave a red alert,” the Daily Sabah quoted him as saying.
Turkey has stepped up its rhetoric against Greece in recent months amid what Ankara sees as a growing military buildup on the Greek Aegean islands close to Turkey’s coastline. In a repeated, thinly veiled threat, Erdogan has said, “We can come down suddenly one night when the time comes.”
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned Greece to stop militarizing the Aegean islands. Otherwise, Ankara will take the necessary steps on the ground.
“Either Greece takes a step back and abides by agreements, or we will do what is necessary,” he stated.
Last week, Greece reacted to what it called “repeated threats of war” by Turkey.
“The statements made by Turkish officials on the demilitarization of the Aegean islands have been repeatedly rejected in their entirety on the basis of a series of arguments, which are also contained in the relevant letters that Greece has sent to the UN Secretary-General,” the Foreign Ministry in Athens stated.