Defense Minister Panos Kammenos on Monday hit back at references by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend to "sea bandits" in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean.
"We all know who the pirates of the Aegean are," Kammenos said following a meeting with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt at the ministry. "The only ones who were never pirates, over the centuries, as you know, are the Greeks."
Greece's decisions are backed by international law, he said, noting that, "it is the United Nations Security Council that judges who the pirates are."
"Greece is not provoking anyone but neither will it yield an inch of the rights granted to it by international law and international treaties," Kammenos said, adding that the borders of Greece are those of the European Union. "As a result, any violation of the sea, land or air borders of Greece are also a violation of those of the EU."
Prosperity will come, he said, when each country exploits their reserves with respect for international law, adding that the region is becoming an energy hub for the Mediterranean.
Kammenos's comments followed Erdogan's reference over the weekend to "sea bandits" and his insistence that Ankara will not tolerate "attempts to seize" natural resorces in the eastern Mediterranean.