Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Greece on Saturday with “sudden” military action without persisting in what he considers to be a confrontational attitude with Turkey in the Aegean. “Greece, look at history. If you go much further, the price you will pay will be high, very high,” he proclaimed. Erdoğan during a speech at a technology fair in the city of Samsun, in which Turkish-made armed drones were on display.
“When the day and time comes, we will do whatever it takes. We can suddenly arrive one night,” Erdogan said, using the formula he has been repeating for months when talking about a possible military operation in Syria.
Ankara has been accusing Athens for months of “militarizing” the aegean islandsmoving troops and artillery in actions that, in his opinion, violate the 1923 Lausanne and 1947 Paris treaties.
Last June, the Turkish government even threatened to “question Greek sovereignty” over the islands, while Greece it argues that it has the right to protect itself against Turkey’s “expansionist” attitude.
“For Greece we only have one sentence: Don’t forget Izmir,” Erdogan said today, referring to when in 1923 Turkey he expelled the Greek troops from that Aegean city, ending the Turkish war of independence.
Last week, commemorating the decisive battle, Erdogan stressed that Turkey “threw the infidels into the sea in Izmir.”
Although Ankara and Athens have no territorial claims in the Aegean, except for a few uninhabited islets, Greek and Turkish warplanes regularly challenge each other, in a dispute over the limits of the air space corresponding to territorial waters.
The latest episode of tension took place last Sunday, when, according to Ankara, the Greek Army targeted two of its fighter jets with anti-aircraft missiles, which were flying between the Greek islands of Crete and Rhodes.