Greece will defend its legal interests and rights if the need arises, the Greek Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday in response to the meeting of the National Security Council of Turkey chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In its statement, the Greek ministry said, "Turkey has every right to defend its interests by all legal means, subject to the basic condition that it accepts the rules of International Law. However, it has no right to flagrantly violate International Law and threaten Greece with war (casus belli). Greece makes no claim against Turkey. It is in favour of dialogue on the basis of International Law. It will, however, defend its legal interests and rights, should the need arise."
Meanwhile the entire Greek fleet has been mobilised in the Aegean Sea for exercises with the French following endless threats from Turkey that the Greek islands could be invaded.
A military source said that the "Longhi" exercise, which started today, is to ensure "high readiness." All the main units of the Greek fleet are now in the Aegean Sea.
Frigates, submarines, missile boats, gunboats, helicopters and fighter aircraft, including Rafale fighter jets, are in full formation and deployment, loaded with all their weapon systems.
The focus of the exercises are on Anti-aircraft warfare, Anti-submarine warfare and Surface warfare.
For the first time, the Greek Rafales, the 6 fighter jets that recently joined the Military Squadrons and which passed the first stage of the evaluation by the Tactical Air Headquarters, will participate in a Greek exercise in the Aegean.
Now in the Armed Forces, in addition to the doctrine of "calmness and sobriety", "readiness and determination" also prevails.
It seems that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has underestimated Greece and overestimated his own strength and is looking for the hot episode.
What he probably does not know, however, is that Greece is not only good at words, but also by action. Thus, the Greek Armed Forces are now preparing for all scenarios, even that of a hot episode, should Turkey cause one.
Earlier this month, Erdoğan called on Greece to stop “militarising” Greek islands neighbouring Turkey and warned that Turkish military forces could come “at night”.
“We can come suddenly, in the middle of the night [..] if you Greeks go too far, then the price will be heavy,” Erdoğan said in a statement seen by Athens as severe escalation.
According to the Greek Defence Ministry, Turkey has increased its violations of Greece’s airspace, especially by using drones, such as Βayraktar, which are also used in Ukraine.
At least half of Greek airspace’s violations in 2022 involved drones.
Commenting on Erdoğan’s statement, Angelos Syrigos, a lawmaker of the ruling New Democracy party and international politics professor, said the “we will come suddenly at night” statement refers to the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
“No other leader moves at such a pace of threats for so many weeks […] Erdoğan’s message was ‘pay attention because we are ready”, Syrigos said.