NEWS

Turkish defense minister reiterates claims of Greek ‘provocations’

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Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has reiterated claims that Greece is in violation of international treaties by continuing to maintain troops on several islands of the eastern Aegean, adding that Greek military officials have even conducted “provocative” visits to these islands.

“They have made 78 high-level visits to the islands right under our nose so far,” Akar told the Turkish daily Aksam on Monday, accusing Greece of maintaining troops on 16 of 23 Greek islands Ankara claims must be demilitarized under the terms of the Lausanne and Paris agreements.

“I asked the German defense minister: ‘Who is expansionist?’,” Akar added, referring to his recent visit to Berlin, where he met with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Akar also lashed out at his Greek counterpart, Nikos Panagiotopoulos, over calls for Germany to cease defense supplies to Turkey, adding that Athens “is dreaming” by claiming that tension between the two neighbors has brought them to the brink of war. “We have no such thoughts, or such plans,” Akar said.

Last week, Akar told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency he expected talks with Greece on the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean to be more “productive” in the weeks and months ahead.

“We hope to come up with peaceful solutions to the problems between Greece and Turkey through these negotiations. We want everyone to know that we are ready to make necessary contributions to resolve the issues,” Akar said.