Sözcü: "Antipsara is the 21st Turkish island occupied by Greece"


The Turkish newspaper Sözcü launched an attack against the Deputy Minister of Defence Nikos Hardalias due to his recent visit to Oinousses, with journalist Saygı Özturk characterising the island as "occupied" by Greece.

"The island of Oinousses, located within the boundaries of Smyrna province and six miles from Turkish territorial waters, has been under Greek occupation since 2004 (…) Anti-aircraft guns and armoured vehicles have been deployed at the island's Military Base, while a giant Greek flag is painted on the rocks, on the side facing the area of ​​Cesme," said the article, accusing Deputy Minister of Defense Nikos Hardalias and lieutenant general Konstantinos Floros because they visited the island and inspected the military force there.

The newspaper notes that the area of ​​responsibility of the Oinousses military base also includes the islet of Antipsara which - as it defiantly claims - is the 21st Turkish island that Greece has militarily occupied.

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"Diplomatic and political measures should be taken and instructions given to the Turkish military leadership to prevent invasion. Despite all these warnings, if Greece occupies Antipsara Island, the AKP government will be legally responsible and accountable for the occupation," former secretary general of the Turkish Ministry of Defence, and retired officer Ümit Yalim, a leading spokesman for the Turkish opposition.

The largest opposition newspaper accuses Greece, that while Turkey is trying to heal its wounds from the recent deadly earthquakes, of installing an underwater cable for the transmission of electricity in Oinousses, within - as it defiantly claims - Turkish territorial waters.

"While Turkey struggled to heal the wounds of the earthquake, Greece buried an undersea cable in Turkish territorial waters to bring electricity from the mainland to the Military Base located east of Oinousses Island," it says, accusing the ruling Justice Party and Development Party (AKP) and President Tayyip Erdoğan for inaction.

"We know that the Ministry of Defense is closely monitoring the developments. However, it is impossible to take action without the president's order. No doubt Erdoğan is aware of the developments regarding the islands. However, since there is no relevant directive, no action can be taken. During the rule of the AKP, 20 islands were occupied by Greece, according to some officials," Sözcü writes, re-establishing the alleged occupation of 'Turkish' islands.

Sözcü is Turkey's largest opposition newspaper, belongs to the Kemalist camp, and expresses the views of the joint opposition candidate in May's presidential election, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

He himself many times in the past has spoken about the supposed occupation of Turkish islands by Greece, accusing Tayyip Erdoğan of inaction.

READ MORE: Turkish Elections: Pollsters discuss a "strong derby" between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.