Turkish leader Recep Erdogan has stated that he wants Greece to demilitarise their islands in the Aegean Sea and says that Greece building a military presence there is a violation of treaties that guarantee that the islands should have no military infrastructure.
Dispute over the Aegean islands
Turkey has been claiming that no islands in the Aegean can have a full Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Greece is worried by Turkey’s increasingly expansionist foreign policy and its far-right nationalist government.
“We invite Greece to stop arming the islands that have non-military status and to act in accordance with international agreements. I’m not joking, I’m speaking seriously. This nation is determined.”
“We warn Greece to stay away from dreams and actions that it will regret, and to come to its senses. 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.”
The statement was met with harsh criticism from Greece. A Greek government official clarified:
“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.”
Human rights violations and the invasion of Syria
Meanwhile, Turkey is continuing with its brutal invasion of Syria against Kurdish rebels who have established their own territory in the area. Human Rights groups have condemned the illegal Turkish invasion and their ongoing crimes against civilians in Syrian Kurdistan.
On the issue, Erdogan has said:
“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. We hope that none of our real allies and friends will oppose our legitimate security concerns.”
Turkey has moved away from democracy in recent years under Erdogan, becoming an Islamist and anti-democratic state that continually imprisons journalists and bans opposition media and political parties. Erdogan’s popularity has plummeted in recent months following Turkey’s hyper-inflation and economic collapse.
[Based on reporting by: Associated Press]