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Athens rejects Turkish accusations that Greece escalates tensions





Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at an event in Ankara on May 8. [AP]

Greece has rejected Turkey’s new accusations of promoting maximalist policies and escalating tension in the Aegean Sea, brought on Thursday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

Greek diplomats told Kathimerini that this was normal Turkish rhetoric aimed at pushing for the demilitarization of the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean and was again being used to make the migration issue win. in influence. Turkey is determined to keep its rhetoric at high decibel levels, they said.

In a video message Thursday at a conference on the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean in Izmir, Erdogan said that instead of making a significant contribution to our well-meaning efforts, Greece has accelerated its maximalist policies.

Referring to migration, he said that while the refugee crisis could have led to cooperation between the two countries, this historic opportunity has been wasted due to Greece’s hardline attitude, according to Turkeys Hurriyet Daily News.

On broader issues relating to the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan said Turkey had been careful not to be the party that increased the tension so far.

We acted calmly in the face of the violation of the non-military status of the islands in the areas of maritime jurisdiction and the footsteps of our neighbor Greece, which has increased the tension. We have prioritized solving our problems through dialogue and negotiation, Erdogan said.

Addressing the same conference earlier on Thursday, the Turkish defense minister also made a step in Athens, but also in Nicosia, saying Ankara will take all necessary measures to protect the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the occupied north. from the island.

No project that ignores and respects the rights of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots in the Mediterranean can succeed, he said.

Akar also accused Greece of violating the rights of Turkish minorities in the province of Thrace and on the islands of Kos and Rhodes. He added that Greece supports terrorist organizations.

Another problem we have with Greece is its support for terrorist organizations. Everyone knows that Greece supported and trained in Lavrio [a port town southeast of Athens] members of [Kurdish separatist] PPK and [Turkish extreme leftist party, designated as terrorist group] DHKP-C and now welcomes FETO members, Akar said, referring to supporters of preacher Fetullah Gullen with an acronym that stands for Fetullah Terrorist Organization.

Greek diplomats were more concerned with the rhetoric about migration, as the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan leads to increased migration flows. They see the pressures on the Aegean increasing as Washington’s collapse and the European Union’s geopolitical incapacity are evident. They also see Erdogan playing the card of Greece insensitive to a Western European audience, at least to segments sympathetic to the plight of migrants and refugees.




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