President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blasted the continued armament of the Aegean islands by Greece, reiterating that Türkiye’s military power and capabilities are far more superior than Greece, Trend reports citing Hurriyet Daily News.
“The weapons deployed [by Greece and the United States] to Western Thrace and [the Aegean] islands do not mean anything to us. Because our forces and capabilities are beyond these, but we want to emphasize that all these deployments mean a secret occupation [by Greece],” Erdoğan said at a meeting with the provincial leaders of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Sept. 27.
Erdogan’s warning came after Greek media reports revealed that the U.S. and Greece have deployed armored military vehicles and other equipment to the Greek islands which must be kept demilitarized according to the 1923 Lausanne and 1947 Paris treaties. Ankara has reportedly summoned Greek ambassador to Türkiye Christodoulos Lazaris and protested the U.S. Embassy in Ankara over the military deployment to Lesbos and Samos.
Erdogan criticized some Western countries for provoking Greece against Türkiye, saying “We will never retreat from defending our country in the air, on land and at sea. But while we will stand against these dark scenarios, we won’t allow them to divert our attention and waste our energy.”
Türkiye has tens of thousands of kins in Western Thrace who are banned from using the word “Turk,” Erdogan said, “I would like to remind the Greek president and prime minister who are disturbed by the use of the word ‘Turk’ by a school or civil society: Pull yourself together. Do you think the support [to Greece] from the U.S. and Europe will save you. It will not. You simply spin your wheels, it does nothing else.”
Türkiye sincerely wants peace and stability in its region and the resolution of problems through diplomacy and dialogue, said Erdogan, noting “We have always defended this: We never claim for the rights of others but we will never allow the violation of our rights. We will never hesitate in defending our rights and the rights of our Turkish Cypriots in the blue homeland.”
In his remarks following the weekly cabinet meeting late on Sept. 26, Erdogan accused Greece of staging “provocations” and playing “perilous games.” Türkiye will protect its rights and interests against Greece “using all means” available to the country, he said.
“While endeavoring sincerely to end wars, crises and tensions around the world, we closely follow our neighbor Greece’s policies full of provocation,” he stated. Greece cannot be Türkiye’s equivalent or counterpart in political, military or economic terms, the president noted.
Erdogan warned that it was a “dangerous game both for Greek politicians, the Greek state and the Greek people and for those who use them as a puppet.”
In his address on Sept. 27, Erdogan repeated his calls on the allies and Türkiye’s neighbors to stand against terror all together.
“The place of the terrorists are not the streets but the courts and prisons where they will pay the price for the blood they are shedding. We are expecting all the countries, particularly our neighbors, to take all the necessary measures against the terrorist organizations without any discrimination [between them],” he stated.
Speaking about next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections, President Erdogan expressed his belief that the AKP and the People Alliance will win the polls by breaking the records.
“Türkiye’s biggest chance is the AK Party government and the People Alliance. Türkiye’s biggest haplessness is this opposition which does nothing but try to block our services to the people. I am very sure that this sort of opposition will be thrown into the rubbish through next year’s polls,” he stated.