Turkey threatens move in ‘self-defense’

Turkey threatens move in ‘self-defense’

In the latest escalation in the rhetoric emanating from Ankara, Turkey said that any possible move against Greece would be an act of “self-defense.”

Obviously annoyed by the clear support to Athens by the foreign ministers of Germany and France in recent days regarding Greek sovereignty and sovereign rights, Ankara appears to have opted to raise the stakes even higher. 

Revisiting Ankara’s demand that Greece demilitarize its islands in the eastern Aegean, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Monday threatened pre-emptive action if Athens does not comply.

“Doesn’t that create the right for self-defense? Isn’t installing weapons in front of our noses a threat to our country?” he said, while accusing Greece of “aggressive rhetoric” against Ankara, claiming that the increase in its defense budget shows the country is “up to something” against Turkey.

“They are in a calculation against Turkey in their own way. There is a five-fold increase in the armament budget,” Akar told the Anadolu Agency.

Turkey’s defense minister said Greece is going out of its way to stop arms sales to Turkey.

“[Greece] not only went to the US to tell them not to give us the F-16s, they also went to Germany and asked them not to give us the submarines,” Akar said, while accusing Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias of “using aggressive rhetoric and aggressive actions to spoil the potential positive climate that could be created between the two countries.”

Meanwhile, ahead of the departure from the southern Turkish coast of the Abdulhamid Han drilling ship, the Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that for Turkey there is no disputed area and that the reports in question are related to Greece’s maximalist positions.

Both Germany and France have expressed support for Greece’s territorial integrity in recent days.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna noted in her meeting with Dendias last week that France is in full solidarity against all attempts to undermine Greece’s sovereignty and against all threats that could harm its sovereignty. “We will therefore remain vigilant as to the evolution of the situation and you can count on us,” she said. 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also stressed in visits to both Greece and Turkey that claims on the Greek islands are not acceptable.

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