Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Friday accused Athens of grandstanding over its recent military agreements with France and the United States, while also referring to the Greek island of Kastellorizo as being within swimming distance of Turkey.
“This is not an arms race but a showing off of weapons. They are striving for superiority against Turkey by arming themselves, with the encouragement of some countries,” Akar told high-ranking military officers in a meeting in Ankara.
“This is a futile effort… The Turkish armed forces have the ability, the strength and the willpower to defend our country’s rights and interests,” he added.
In an apparent dig at France, with which Greece recently signed a major defense agreement, Akar also said that Athens’ “recent alliances with other NATO allies are futile.”
Referring to the southeastern Aegean island of Kastellorizo, Akar said that “we’re talking about a 10 square kilometer island. And they [the Greeks] are claiming a maritime area of 40,000 square meters for this island. And when we say ‘no’ to this, they accuse us of being ‘expansionist’.”
Deputy Minister of National Defence Nikolaos Chardalias responded to Akar from Kastelorizo Island yesterday.
"We are ready whenever needed"
''We want to make it clear that the men and women of the Hellenic Armed Forces remain ready, whenever necessary to defend the sanctuaries and the holy, our national independence, the sovereign rights of all Hellenism.''