The president of Trkiye blasted its neighbor and rival in the Mediterranean for alleged militarization of the Aegean islands
Greece is not Trkiye's equal and will get itself into a quagmire by confronting it, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned. He criticized Athens for an alleged militarization of its islands in the Aegean Sea.
The real goal of Athens' confrontational stance towards Trkiye is hindering the country's progress towards greatness, the president said, in a speech on Monday following a meeting of the Turkish cabinet.
"This is a dangerous game for Greek politicians, the Greek state, the Greek people, and those who use them as puppets," Erdogan stated.
"Neither those military buildups nor that political and economic support is enough to raise Greece to our level, but these wrong steps are enough to drag Greece into the swamp in every sense," he added.
The Turkish leader was commenting on the reported deployment of additional weapons to the islands of Lesbos and Samos. Last week, media in Trkiye showed what they claimed to be footage shot by Ankara's military drones, showing armored vehicles being unloaded from a Greek landing ship. The hardware was allegedly donated to Athens by Washington.
Ankara summoned the Greek ambassador to lodge a formal protest on Monday, but Athens rejected its accusations as baseless. The Greek government says its military activities in the Aegean are reactive to Trkiye's aggressive policies.
Erdogan accused Greece of being engaged in "manipulations and escalations" and warned that the outcome of a possible confrontation with Trkiye would be disastrous for the Greek people. As an example, he mentioned the losses that Greek expeditionary forces in Trkiye suffered a century ago, during the Turkish War of Independence.
Lesbos and Samos used to be part of the Ottoman Empire, but Istanbul's grip on them dwindled by the start of the 20th century. Greece incorporated the islands along with several others in the early 1910s.
Athens sealed its sovereignty over them under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which ended Trkiye's hostilities with European nations. The agreement's terms specifically banned Greece from building naval bases or fortifications on four of them, including Lesbos and Samos.