The Greek Foreign Ministry has issued a stern announcement in the wake of Turkish President Erdogan’s rhetoric and threats made during his campaign speech for the upcoming March 31 elections.
Erdogan spoke of the terrorist attack in New Zealand which left 50 people dead, saying it was as part of a wider attack on Turkey and threatened to send people back in “coffins” if they attempt to turn Istanbul into Constantinople.
During his speech, Erdogan presented excerpts from the “manifesto” and told the crowd, “We have been here for 1000 years and we will be here until the apocalypse, which is the will of God,” he said after he repeatedly showed video footage of the Christchurch mosque attacks during the election rally.
The rally coincided with the commemoration of the 1915 Gallipoli campaign during the first world war, when Ottoman soldiers defeated British-led forces including Australian and New Zealand troops trying to seize the peninsula, a gateway to Constantinople.
“You will not turn Istanbul into Constantinople,” he said, adding, “Your grandparents came here … and they returned in caskets. Have no doubt we will send you back like your grandfathers.”
The Turkish leader then went on to refer to the defeat of the Greek army in 1922, “Izmir, you who throw the giaours (non- Muslims) in the sea and protect the helpless,” he said, in reference to Greeks who drowned while trying to flee a fire set by Turks.
Greece’s Foreign Ministry responded with a statement: “Greece is not going to be swept away in the instrumentalisation of foreign policy to serve domestic political expediencies, or use history with terms that are offensive to neighbouring countries. Such unacceptable references undermine the trust we hope to build between our countries and are not in line with the European perspective that the Turkish leadership claims to support.”
*Image source: AP