Turkey’s Foreign Minister said Ankara ‘will do what is necessary’ to stop Greece from militarizing the Aegean islands.
By Nektaria Stamouli
December 6, 2022
ATHENS — Turkey warned Greece to back off and stop militarizing the Aegean islands, otherwise Ankara “will take the necessary steps on the ground.”
“Either Greece takes a step back and abides by the agreements, or we do what is necessary,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday during a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu in Ankara.
“If Athens does not want peace, Ankara will do whatever is necessary. We cannot remain silent about the disarmament of the islands, we will take the necessary steps both legally and on the ground,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Turkey has stepped up its rhetoric against Greece in recent months amid what Ankara sees as a growing military buildup on the Greek Aegean islands, close to Turkey’s coastline. In a repeated, thinly veiled threat, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said: “We can come down suddenly one night when the time comes.”
Ankara sent a letter to the United Nations in July 2021 laying out its arguments against Athens — which, Çavuşoğlu said, bothered Greece.
These islands were given to Greece under the treaties of Lausanne and Paris on the condition of disarmament, he said, adding that Greece is “directly violating these two agreements.” Greece has deployed military equipment on the islands despite their demilitarized status. “So Greece does not want peace,” Çavuşoğlu added.
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