Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has openly questioned the sovereignty of certain unnamed Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, restating the Turkish theory of “gray zones” first expressed in the 1990s.
“Those who make plans on disputed sovereignty islands in the Aegean should know that the coast is not clear [for them,]” Erdogan said Sunday on the launch of the new Piri Reis-class submarine.
Repeating the long-standing Turkish arguments on Turkey’s maritime borders dispute with Greece, Erdogan said that “no one should try to blockade us, to trap us in our own coasts or trample on our economic rights.” But, he added that “we do not intend to start conflicts with anyone for no reason or deprive someone of their rights.”
Referring to the countries that have opposed Turkey’s maritime borders memoranduim with Libya, mainly Egypt, Greece and Israel, Erdogan said that “those who stand against us have no sense of the international law and the laws, and no mercy.”
“With the six submarines that will be ready by 2027, we will continue to defend our country’s interests…especially in the Mediterranean,” Erdogan said.
Referring to military support for the internationally-recognized “Government of National Accord” based in Tripoli, Libya, which is engaged in a civil war, Erdogan says Turkey will increase such support if needed and will assess its options on air, land and sea.
The Turkish President assured his audience that there is no way Turkey will back off from the two agreements – on maritime borders and military aid – it has signed with Libya.
Earlier Sunday, Turkey’s Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, said that “Turkey will support the internationally recognized government of Libyas until peace, stability and security are consolidated in Libya.”