In response to another threatening statement emanating from Ankara, this time from Turkey’s National Security Council on Wednesday evening, Greece’s Foreign Ministry responded saying Turkey has every right to defend its interests by any legal means, on the basic condition it accepts the rules of international law.
“However, it has no right to flagrantly violate international law and threaten Greece with war (casus belli)… Greece makes no claim against Turkey,” it said, adding that Athens is in favor of dialogue on the basis of international law. “It will, however, defend its legitimate interests and rights should the need arise,” it said.
In its statement, the National Security Council, convened by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, “Despite our calls to implement its obligations under international law and treaties, Greece does not stop its illegal actions, and all provocative actions were particularly examined.”
It said, “Greece is moving away from wisdom and reason, going as far as sabotaging NATO activities and attacking ships sailing in international waters.”
“We will not hesitate to use all kinds of legal methods and means to protect our nation’s interests and rights against Greece’s futile efforts,” it said.
On the issue of the militarization of the islands, Ankara maintained a lower key compared to previous statements by Turkish officials, calling for caution from “circles that urge Greece to militarize the islands which have a demilitarized status.”
It also expressed dismay at the lifting of the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus by the US, even describing it as a decision “that will negatively affect peace and balance in the region and is contrary to the spirit of the NATO Alliance.”
Earlier, Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar maintained the aggressive rhetoric and referred to the “expansionist, aggressive and hostile policy” of Greece. He also raised the issue of Thrace’s Muslim minority, referring to a “genocide of national identity” and called for sanctions against Greece for its policy on the refugee issue. Akar claimed that “Greece, being the side that escalates tension with this attitude, is recklessly accusing Turkey.”
“This is duplicity and hypocrisy. Moreover, this bad neighbor, which at every opportunity complains about Turkey to others, reveals its hostile attitude,” he said.