The next few months could prove pivotal for Greek-Turkish relations as Cyprus reunification talks resume, Turkish air space violations continue and the refugee crisis festers.
However, despite the escalating incendiary rhetoric emanating from Ankara, high-ranking Greek military officials insist that Turkish military violations in the Aegean and the ensuing dogfights are business as usual and see little to match the aggressive language used by Turkish politicians, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Nonetheless, this did not stop the acrimonious exchanges this week between the two sides. Defense Minister Panos Kammenos called Erdogan a “ruthless dictator” who poses a threat to Greece, drawing a vehement response from senior Turkish officials who “harshly condemned” the comments as being void “of manners, rationality and a sense of responsibility.”
Kammenos’s remarks came in response to comments by Turkish politicians who have publicly disputed Greece’s sovereignty over at least 18 islets in the eastern Aegean and made inflammatory remarks concerning Cyrpus.
However, despite the reaction of Kammenos, who visited military units in northern and eastern Greece last week, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias have, for now, avoided commenting on the fiery rhetoric coming from both sides of the Aegean.