Yigit Bulut, a close advisor to Turkish President chief Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a new challenge to Greece, inviting the country to test Turkey's determination.
"We challenge Greece to set foot on Imia. If that happens we will defend [the islets] to the death from the moment that Erdogan gives the order," Bulut said.
The warning came just a few hours after Bulut warned of a “strike” in the eastern Mediterranean if any attempt to explore or drill for hydrocarbons goes ahead without Ankara’s approval.
Bulut, who is known for his incendiary remarks, was quoted by the Cyprus News Agency as telling Turkish state broadcaster TRT that Erdogan is prepared to call a “strike” at any “attempt at provocation.” “Have no doubt about it,” he said.
Ankara has vowed to prevent any exploration for oil or gas around Cyprus and last month was accused of threatening to use force against a drillship chartered by Italy’s Eni to explore Block 3 of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone.