Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou has arrived in Kastellorizo to celebrate the island's independence from Fascist Italian rule despite concerns that Ankara is very likely to try and take advantage of the presence of the president in order to intensify the climate of tension that has been cultivating for a month and a half in Greek-Turkish relations.
It is no coincidence, after all, that Kastelorizo is finally at the center of Turkey's illegal claims on Greek sovereignty.
Greece, anticipating that the visit of the Greek president to Kastelorizo could lead to the possibility of the Turks escalating tensions even further, has strengthened the military guarding the area.
It is characteristic that on the island there are two Navy ships, a torpedo boat and a gunboat. At the same time, the patrols carried out around the island with high-speed boats are continuous.
Today and tomorrow, Sakellaropoulou will pay a two-day visit to Kastelorizo for the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the island.
Sakellaropoulou arrived in Kastelorizo on Sunday morning to attend the eulogy at the Church of Saints Constantine and Helen and will then lay a wreath at the Monument of the Fallen.
#Greece - head off state - Katerina Sakellaropoulou - visits tiny Island of #Kastellorizo close to #Turkey as tensions between two countries continue pic.twitter.com/dNownwANf1
— Nic Robertson (@NicRobertsonCNN) September 13, 2020
Later today, Sakellaropoulou will visit Navy ships located in the port of Kastelorizo and will lay a wreath at the monument of "Lady of Ro" on the Ro islet.
In the afternoon, she will tour places of cultural interest on the island.
On this day in 1943, the Hellenic Navy destroyer Kountouriotis liberated Kastelorizo and raised the flag. Kastellorizo becomes the first part of Greece to be liberated from the Axis forces after the occupation of Greece.
Meanwhile, the so-called Turkish Minister of Defense is currently in Antifellos (Αντίφελλος, Turkish: Kaş), located directly opposite Kastellorizo and just a few minutes boat ride away.
Hulusi Akar, the so-called Minister of Defense of Turkey, is in Antifellos, at the same time as Sakellaropoulou is in Kastellorizo and spoke about the return of the Oruc Reis to Turkey after violating the Greek and Cypriot continental shelf and maritime space.
From Antifellos, Akar expressed his favor for dialogue with Athens.
"We are in favor of dialogue and good neighborly relations with Athens, if our wishes and demands are met. We want the existing problems to be resolved," the so-called Turkish Defense Minister said initially.
He went on to say that "we expect from Athens a similar move with ours, in order to start the dialogue."