Akar issues fresh threats against Greece

Akar issues fresh threats against Greece

Τurkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has reacted to a recent visit by his Greek counterpart, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, to the eastern Aegean island of Kastellorizo, some 2 kilometers off Turkey’s southern coast, while reiterating Ankara’s demands for demilitarization.

“Seeing [the Greeks’] provocative behavior lately, we forgot that they know how to swim. If they cling to this mindset, knowing how to swim will come in handy,” he said in an interview with the prominent Turkish newspaper Hurriyet published on Saturday.

The Turkish minister has previously said that the island of Kastellorizo is within “swimming distance” from the Turkish coast – a thinly disguised threat to Greece’s sovereignty.  

Akar’s comments came a day after Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the United Nations General Assembly that Ankara is undermining peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region, nevertheless assuring the people of Turkey that Greece is not a threat to their country.

In the same interview on Saturday, Akar revisited Ankara’s demand that Greece demilitarize its eastern Aegean islands.

“They [Greece] militarize the islands with demilitarized status in violation of the treaties and this situation gives [Turkey] the right to self-defense and places the sovereignty of the islands in question,” he said.

“When we say this, they make a fuss that we are threatening their sovereignty,” the Turkish foreign minister added, noting that despite Ankara’s “well-intentioned efforts, some Greek politicians continue with provocative actions and rhetoric.”

He also claimed that Greece is resorting to various means to discredit Turkey.

“They are making fools of themselves with unfounded slander that cannot be explained by logic and justice,” Akar stressed.

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