Erdogan Message To Greece: “Turkey will not relinquish its rights in the Aegean” Warned Greece To Stay Away

TURKEY (June 6, 2022)– — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday warned Greece to demilitarize islands in the Aegean Sea, saying he was “not joking” with the admonition.

Turkey says Greece has been building a military presence in violation of treaties that guarantee the unarmed status of the Aegean islands. It argues the islands were ceded to Greece on the condition they remained demilitarized.

“We invite Greece to stop arming the islands that have non-military status and to act in accordance with international agreements,“ Erdogan said on the final day of military exercises taking place near Izmir, on Turkey’s Aegean coast. “I’m not joking, I’m speaking seriously. This nation is determined.”

Greece and Turkey are NATO allies, but the neighboring countries have a history of disputes over a range of issues, including mineral exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and rival claims in the Aegean Sea.

President Erdogan sent a message to Greece on Twitter “Turkey does not violate the rights and the law of anyone, but neither does it allow the violation of its rights and the law by anyone.”

“The importance of claiming maritime jurisdiction of 40,000km2 for Megisti, located in the Eastern Mediterranean and less than 2km from the mainland of our country while from mainland Greece over 600km, we leave to the discretion of the international community,” added Erdogan.

“The attempt to instrumentalize NATO and third countries, involving them in the illegality of various military exercises on islands with a non-militarized regime, is not just an attempt that will have a disastrous end,” said Erdogan in a third tweet.

“At the same time, Greece, despite being a member of the European Union, continues to oppress the Turkish minority living in Western Thrace, Rhodes and Kos, ignoring the values of the Union, human rights worldwide and international agreements,” said Erdogan in a fourth tweet,

In a series of tweets, Erdogan said “As an ally within NATO that pays the highest price in every way, we calmly faced the challenges of Greece, which for the last two years has not even responded to our invitations for a meeting of military delegations.”

“But we see that our patience and composure that we display is misunderstood by our counterpart.”

“We warn once again Greece to be prudent, to stay away from dreams, rhetoric and actions that will lead it to results for which it will regret, as happened a century ago.”

“As Turkey will not relinquish its rights in the Aegean, it will not hesitate to make use of the rights recognized by the international agreements on the demilitarization of the islands,” said Erdogan in a final tweet.

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“We warn Greece to stay away from dreams and actions that it will regret, and to come to its senses,” the Turkish leader continued. “Turkey won’t give up on its rights in the Aegean, in the same way that it will not stand back from using its rights stemming from international agreement.”

Greece maintains Turkey has deliberately misinterpreted the treaties and says it has legal grounds to defend itself following hostile actions by Ankara, including a long-standing threat of war if Greece extended its territorial waters.

In Athens, Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said Greece was dealing with Turkish “provocations” with “calm and determination.”

“It is clear to everyone that our country has upgraded its geostrategic and geopolitical footprint as well as its deterrent capacity to be able at any time to defend its national sovereignty and sovereign rights,” he said.

Meanwhile, Erdogan also reiterated Turkey’s determination to launch a new cross-border offensive in Syria with the goal of pushing back Syrian Kurdish militia and creating a 30-kilometer (19-mile) buffer zone. Turkey regards the militia as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

“We will never allow the establishment of terror corridors along our country’s borders, and we will definitely complete the missing parts of our security zone,” the Turkish leader said.

Erdogan continued: “We hope that none of our real allies and friends will oppose our legitimate security concerns.”

Erdogan has said that Turkey’s new offensive in Syria would target the towns of Tall Rifat and Manbij, which lie west of the Euphrates River and from where the Syrian Kurdish fighters launch attacks on Turkish targets.

Update: 2:45 PM EST

President Erdogan tweeted “As an ally that pays the highest price in all respects within NATO, we have calmly welcomed the provocations of Greece, which has not even responded to our military delegation meeting invitations for the last two years. However, we see that our interlocutor misunderstands our patience and composure.”

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In a second tweet, President Erdogan warned Greece “We warn Greece again, just like a century ago, to stay away from dreams, rhetoric and actions that will result in regret, and to come to its senses.”

In a third tweet, President Erdogan said “Turkey will not relinquish its rights in the Aegean and will not refrain from using the powers granted to it by international agreements on the armament of the islands when necessary.”

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Source: President Erdogan contributed to the article.  AP News wrote the original article.


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