NEWS

Turkey slams PM over 'aggressive neighbor' remark

VASSILIS NEDOS

TAGS: Diplomacy, Turkey

Comments by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Davos on Wednesday in which he described Turkey as an “aggressive neighbor” prompted an angry response from Ankara on Thursday.

“It is not possible for us to accept the statement of the Greek Prime Minister Mr Tsipras against Turkey in Davos,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

“We think that Mr Tsipras should rather look at his own cabinet for the tangible example of ‘aggression.’ Everyone is aware that some of his colleagues fit his definition perfectly,” he added. 

It was seen as a thinly disguised reference to Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who heads the small nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL) party, SYRIZA’s junior partner in government. 

During an address on security issues in the Mediterranean at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, Tsipras spoke of Turkey as an “aggressive neighbor, sometimes unpredictable with an aggressive military activity in the Aegean.” 

The Turkish reaction came a day after the country’s prime minister, Binali Yildirim, disputed Greece’s sovereignty over the uninhabited Imia islets, known in Turkish as Kardak, in the eastern Aegean.

Speaking ahead of the anniversary of the 1996 standoff between the two neighbors, Yildirim accused Athens of seeking a repeat of the crisis which brought the two countries to the brink of war. He warned that such an attempt “will not go down well” in Ankara. 

Meanwhile on Thursday, Greek and Turkish F-16 fighter jets engaged in a mock dogfight in the area between Chios and Samos shortly before 3 p.m.

Online