The crescendo of provocative statements against Greece and the Greek sovereignty of the Aegean islands by Turkish media continues unrelentingly.
The Turkish national network TRT, follows faithfully the inflammatory climate of what Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday, who claimed that “the promises for the Aegean islands were not kept”, strengthening the “pro-war” climate against our country.
TRT broadcast a propaganda video, with non-existent accusations against Greece and interpretation of International Law and International Agreements, in accordance with Turkey’s ambitions and aspirations.
In the video, journalists, teachers and politicians speak, quoting Turkish views on the Aegean islands.
The following is an accurate translation of the 8-minute video, in order to understand the “climate” that Ankara is trying to create in the Aegean, raising the intensity thermometer to “red”.
The propaganda of the Turks…
“The status of the Aegean islands was determined by international treaties. Nevertheless, they became the cause of a crisis between Greece and Turkey. In recent years they have been transformed into something like an arsenal. The islands are back on the political agenda. The Aegean islands include the Dodecanese, which in 1912 were given to Italy on the condition that they be returned to the Ottoman state. In 1923 it was determined by the Treaty of Lausanne that they must be disarmed. After the end of World War II, this time they were given to Greece.”
Uluç Özülker (retired Turkish diplomat): “Unfortunately, after the end of World War II, Turkey did not have the strength to come out, quarrel and say, ‘These are mine.’ Unfortunately, this is the truth.”
When the islands were given to Greece, the same term applied. The Aegean islands would remain unarmed. This situation was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris. Greece began to equip the islands in the 1950s. Greece either denied this equipment or based it on unfounded excuses.
Zuhal Mert Uz (Lecturer): After Cyprus, they started saying that Turkey could land on the islands as well. Greece, walking on this base, says that it is trying to defend itself. While Turkey has not made any attack. In the most recent example, in Imia, the Greek commandos had gone to the islet, which is why the Turkish commandos went to the other. In other words, Turkey did not do anything in good faith.”
Fahri Demirci (Journalist): In 2021, armaments began to accelerate. In fact, Greece was no longer alone. Even the United States, one of Turkey’s biggest allies, has begun installing weapons on the islands. In this way, the American bases in Greece, together with those on the border, approached ten.
Yücel Acer (professor): Turkey, unlike what happened in the past, instead of becoming a vehicle in the policies of third countries, has become a country that tries to pursue its own independent policy aimed at its own national interests and its own security. It has accomplished this to a great extent. As this happened, the US realised that, unlike in the past, it would not be able to carry out the desired military activities or bases. I believe that they see Greece as something like an alternative.
In 2021 Greece for the first time Greece joined the Defender Europe exercise. More than 1,800 armoured vehicles and more than 20,000 soldiers landed in Alexandroupolis. In the light of developments, Turkey, took the issue to the international arena. Ankara sent a letter to the UN in October describing the serious violations.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu: “Greece is violating the agreements here. For this reason, if Greece does not end this, the sovereignty of these islands will be discussed. They are violating the term.
The tension between the two countries increased especially with Mitsotakis speech in the Senate. Ankara’s reaction came from the highest point.
Erdoğan (Stock Footage): Last week he (Mitsotakis) traveled to America. And in his speech to the Senate he said they needed it against Turkey. And he tried to make suggestions to America by saying there “Do not give them the F-16.” Mitsotakis no longer exists for me. I do not accept anything like having such a meeting with him. Let Mitsotakis think about the future. Let him meet with whomever he wants and set up bases where he wants.
Turkey reacted, Mitsotakis’ efforts to support the international arena continued.
At the European Union summit, Mitsotakis put this legal approach on the agenda as Turkey’s aggression against the islands. And he demanded the support of the other members of the European Union. At the moment, this point is particularly prominent in the policies pursued by Greece. It shows Turkey as an illegal country, while seeking to form a front against Turkey. This is an approach that has been pursued for a long time. Greece, Turkey and the United States are members of NATO. That fact must be taken into account.
Zuhal Mert Uz: NATO without Turkey would be a very weak organisation. Something could be done that would have the name but it would be empty. Does the US want that? This is a very important issue. You know that after Turkey’s reaction to Mitsotakis’ speech in Congress, a statement was made. And they said that Greece is a critical partner but Turkey is a very critical partner.
The situation in the domestic politics of Greece is a little different. Turkey, due to its rights deriving from international law, is an element of fear for the Greek public opinion. The armaments are projected in the Greek public opinion as the only way out. But this approach can turn into a problem in the long run.
Yücel Acer: Greece in this period, opened so much its embrace in America and in fact without borders, to the point of telling them “You can set up a base where you want”. But permission to open our base is a major problem. And in fact a long-term problem. Because the bases that you open today, you have to think carefully about how in the future you will get rid of them. Because you may get to the point of thinking about closing them or not closing them.
The Greek economy is in a difficult position. With the payment of 16 billion euros for the equipment, it can reach an even more difficult situation.
Yücel Acer: What Greece will direct its resources is very important for the future of the Greek economy. In this case, the resources at its disposal, of course, are expected to be directed to investments instead of the purchase of military materials. But Greece’s effort to resolve this with the power of America does not mean that Greece has solved the problem. Because there will be some long-term costs for Greece. Because America’s priority is its own interests.