Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used the final day of major military exercises in the Aegean Sea to issue a warning to Greece, which he accuses of militarizing islands in the area.
“I warn Greece to avoid dreams, acts and statements that will result in regret. Come to your senses,” Erdogan said on Thursday, in a televised address from the western Izmir province, where he was observing the Efes-2022 wargames.
Turkey has berated Athens for boosting its military presence on the Aegean islands, calling this a violation of the treaties that saw the islands ceded to Greece in the first half of the 20th century.
“We invite Greece to stop arming the islands that have non-military status and to act in accordance with international agreements,” the Turkish leader said. “I’m not joking, I’m speaking seriously. This nation is determined.”
Despite both Turkey and Greece being NATO members, the neighbors have rocky relations, complicated by, among other things, a dispute over mineral exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean and rivaling territorial claims in the Aegean Sea.
The tensions have been mounting between Ankara and Athens in recent weeks, with the sides trading accusations of airspace violations.