Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doubled down on his threat to “come suddenly one night” to the Greek islands on Tuesday, appearing to have set himself on an irreversible course of constant intensification of rhetoric and confrontational tactics against the EU as well.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis decried this latest crescendo of rhetoric, stressing that “it is unacceptable for Greece to receive threats that even amount to a challenge to its sovereignty.”
Meanwhile, the Turkish Foreign Ministry reportedly sent emails to EU member-states, EU High Representative Josep Borrell, permanent members of the UN Security Council, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, outlining Turkey’s positions “on the solution to the problems in the Aegean” and referring to “illegal actions and maximalist demands by Greece.”
During an official visit to Bosnia on Tuesday, Erdogan picked up where he left off at the weekend, essentially threatening an outright military attack.
“When we say that we can come suddenly at night it means that we can come suddenly one night. Why did I say that? They have these islands in their hands… and on these islands there are bases and much more, and if the illegal threats continue, then patience too will come to an end. When the end of patience comes, the end of patience is salvation,” he said. “I believe that Greece also knows this. When the time comes, then the necessary things will be done,” he added.
“Locking the radar is not a good omen,” Erdogan said, reiterating claims – which Greece has denied – that Greek surface-to-air missiles locked on to Turkish F-16 fighter jets in international airspace last month.
Erdogan had also made the same threat earlier the same day ahead of a three-day tour of the Balkans, with stops in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. “Greece should think better and decide what kind of relationship it will have with Turkey. I always say that we may suddenly come one night,” he said.
However, he didn’t stop there, and also took aim at the EU over the energy issue and the sanctions imposed on Russia.
“We have no problem with gas. Europe reaps what it sows. Europe’s attitude and sanctions against Mr Putin inevitably brought Putin to the point of saying, ‘If you do this, I will do this.’ I think Europe will go through this winter with serious problems. We don’t have that problem,” he said.