Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an interview yesterday on state-owned media, not only made new threats against Greece, but also presented Turkey as the victim of unfounded threats from Athens, while posing near a map of Turkish delusions to steal Greek maritime space.
“Now, Greece is shooting blanks [empty threats] at Turkey. I mean, do they even know what country they are shooting blanks at? Can this be kind of talk be directed at Turkey?” Erdoğan said in the interview.
He is referencing the several statements made by Greek officials that Greece does not want war but will retaliate if Turkey makes any aggressive moves such as attempting to steal oil and gas in Greek maritime waters.
General Konstantinos Floros said days ago that “the Greek Armed Forces are ready to fulfil their duty and carry out their mission of the Constitution from Evros to Kastellorizo if and when required,” as reported by Greek City Times.
As seen in the statement by Floros, Greece is emphasising that it is only defending its own sovereignty if Turkey chooses to violate international law and aggressively enter Greek land and sea.
On Sunday, Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said “we are not afraid. We are getting prepared for any possibility,” in reference to Turkey’s plans to steal Greek gas and oil south of Crete.
In the middle of last week, Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos emphasised Greece does not want war with Turkey but will respond to defend its sovereignty.
“Military involvement is possible in all cases. We do not want to go there, but we want to make it clear that we will do whatever it takes to defend our sovereign rights to the fullest extent possible,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.
In these three latest statements by three different officials, the emphasis is that Greece does not want war, but is fully prepared to defend itself if Turkey acts aggressively.
Erdoğan however of course omitted this from his statements, and continued by saying “Who are kidding with? You [Greece] better collect yourself, and know your place.”
“If you don’t know your limits, then what Turkey would do is obvious,” said the Turkish president in an indirect, but clear threat.
“At the same time, in [the republic of Cyprus], they tried to torch one of our mosques by throwing a Molotov cocktail and hung a Greek flag on another mosque,” ignoring that these unfortunate events happened in response to the recent recital of Islamic passages in the Hagia Sophia Cathedral and continued threats to turn it into a mosque.
“When you do stuff like this, do you think they will not be reciprocated [by Turkey],” he concluded.