Map challenges Greek sovereignty

Map challenges Greek sovereignty

The return to provocative statements by Turkish officials after the lull in tensions since the February earthquakes is being attributed in Athens to the election campaign in the neighboring country.

On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu questioned Greek sovereignty over the Aegean islands, while the ruling AKP has made an aggressive TV advertisement in which parts of Greece (Thrace and the east Aegean islands) are presented as Turkish territory. Moreover, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently ordered helicopter carrier Anadolu to sail to Izmir to send “a message.”

The Greek government is nonetheless sticking to its strategy of maintaining low tones. “We will not allow Turkey’s internal political debate to turn into a public dialogue between Greece and Turkey,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Arnaoutis.

Tellingly, the recent rhetoric by Turkish officials has not been accompanied by challenges on the ground, as no air or sea violations have been reported since March 14. Although there is understanding in Athens that the current state of calm in the Aegean likely won’t last for long, it is equally clear that a return to the exchanges of the pre-February 6 period will benefit no one.

Greece is also in an election period, and a return to high tones would work in favor of extreme right-wing party formations. 

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