After Greece opened its Evros border to Turkey, a new theory is circulating in Turkish newspapers, which are more than 90% controlled by the government, that the island of Agathonísi in fact belongs to Turkey and not Greece.
When Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou visited the island of Agathonísi, Turkish newspapers Yeni Şafak and Sözcü wrote that the island is supposedly Turkish territory.
“I came to Agathonisi, a small island far from the mainland. In this timeless cradle of Hellenism, from the outpost to the cannon-carrying State, I meet proud people, guardians of the borders. We are building our national self-confidence from every island and islet,” Sakellaropoulou posted on twitter.
Ήρθα στο Αγαθονήσι, μικρό νησί μακριά από την ηπειρωτική χώρα. Σ’ αυτή τη διαχρονική κοιτίδα ελληνισμού, από το Φυλάκιο ως την κανονιοφόρο ΚΡΑΤΑΙΟΣ συναντώ περήφανους ανθρώπους, θεματοφύλακες των συνόρων. Από κάθε νησί, νησίδα και βραχονησίδα χτίζουμε την εθνική μας αυτοπεποίθηση pic.twitter.com/0uppojfPiQ
— President GR (@PresidencyGR) June 29, 2020
“Some circles in Turkey no longer question Greek territory as gray areas but start from the incredible starting point that a Greek island, in this case Agathonísi, is Turkish and occupied!” said a diplomatic source to Proto Thema.
“What started a few years ago as a joke by marginalised members of the Turkish Republican Party is becoming mainstream populism that can prove very dangerous in the future because it is addressed to the broad masses of Turks,” the source said, adding “and if nothing else, the danger is that some in the neighbouring country may be trained and adopt the vulgar myth of the supposed… occupation of Agathonisi by Greece and operate in a manner similar to the Turkish ‘journalist’ Cesur Sert who in 1996 in Imia – either out of hatred for Greece, or directed by the Turkish secret services – reached the point of raising a Turkish flag on Greek soil.”
Sözcü, a newspaper with Kemalist ideology, said that the island belongs to Turkey’s Tralleis (Τραλλεῖς, Turkish: Aydın) province, showing that when it comes to aggression and hostilities against Greece, there are no differences between the so-called “Western and progressive” Kemalists and the Islamists loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Meanwhile, Yeni Şafak, a staunch loyalist of Erdoğan and supposed enemy of Kemalists, made a near identical article saying that Greece occupies the “Turkish” island and says that the Greek president’s comments that Greece will defend its land is “provocative.”