President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warns against attempts by Greece for the armament of the Aegean islands.
“It is not possible for us to remain silent about the military activities carried out in violation of the agreements on the islands with disarmed status,” Erdoğan told local Turkish journalists traveling with him from the United Arab Emirates to Turkey.
He recalled that Ankara applied to the United States to present its rejection against Greek activities on the islands.
“However, if Greece continues this, of course, we will make this warning at the highest level, whatever is necessary. Because, as you know, the issue of islands is always controversial,” he stated.
“They may compel us to raise these controversial issues. For this reason, my minister gave them a low-level warning so that they should not force us to open these issues for discussion,” he said.
This week American Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt on Monday affirmed U.S. solidarity with Greece against Turkish claims disputing the country’s sovereignty over its eastern Aegean islands.
“As we discussed our shared goals for regional stability,” Pyatt tweeted after a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias at the ministry in Athens, “I affirmed what Washington has made clear: The sovereignty of Greece over its islands is not in question.”
On Friday, Washington proceeded with a clear and direct rejection of Ankara’s unfounded claims.
“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countrie must be respected and protected. The sovereignty of Greece over these islands is not in question,” said a U.S. State Department spokesman a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu cited the treaties of Lausanne in 1923 and Paris in 1947 to state that sovereignty of these islands was conditional on Greec, not militarising them.
Greece has always dismissed these claims, responding that as long as there is a Turkish military threat to these islands, they will not be demilitarised.