Greece’s armed forces in the Eastern Aegean have been placed on high alert due to Turkey’s continued threats, expressed in recent days by high-ranking officials of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
Although Greece has placed its military in the eastern Aegean on alert to convey a message of vigilance, the government is not seeking to engage in a rhetorical spat with Ankara. It is nonetheless monitoring Turkey’s moves, concerned about the possibility of an escalation during the summer.
Athens also expects an intensification of Turkish efforts to depict Greece as a country that disputes international conventions and law.
Tellingly, this week Turkish Foreign Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened to challenge the sovereignty of the eastern Aegean islands if Athens does not demilitarize them, while on Friday he denounced Greece as a country that does not respect its neighbors. He cited North Macedonia, which he said Greece forced to change its name as a condition to join NATO.
“How many years did the accession of Macedonia last? Eleven years. Why did it take 11 years? Because Greece asked Macedonia to change its name. It became North Macedonia. After that it was able to become a member of NATO and it took 11 years,” said Cavusoglu, who also took a swipe at the European Union.
“The conditions set by some EU member-states, especially regarding North Macedonia and the Macedonians, in order to get a date of negotiation and not accession, are not acceptable,” he said, adding that Turkey does not want countries to change their name or dictate what nationality they must be.