Erdogan describes Greece as inferior interlocutor, Turkish foreign ministry summons Greek ambassador

‘We know the true intentions of those who provoke and instigate Greek politicians is to impede our programme for a strong Turkey,’ Erdogan said, in an apparent reference to US and EU criticism

Just three days after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ address to the UN General Assembly in which he stressed Ankara’s threats to Greece’s sovereignty and its destabilising role in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Greece as a country that is Turkey’s inferior, politically and militarily, and that is being used as a pawn by foreign powers to undercut Ankara’s regional role.

One of the greatest sources of Ankara’s consternation is the establishment of a US base at the Greek port of Alexandroupolis, which has played a critical role in channeling munitions and supplies to Ukraine, as it battles the Russian invasion.

Turkey is the only NATO country that has implemented no sanctions against Russia, and instead retains friendly relations with Moscow, even as it dons the cloak of an honest broker between Moscow and Kyiv.

Demand for demilitarisation of Greek islands, Greek ambassador summoned to Turkish foreign ministry

In a clear escalation of tensions, the Turkish foreign ministry today summoned Greek Ambassador Christodoulos Lazaris to complain about the alleged transport of armoured vehicles to the large Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos, which Ankara continually declares should be demilitarised.

The Greek foreign ministry immediately dismissed the complaint and countered that Turkey continues to violate Greece’s sovereignty with continual violations of Athens’ airspace, including sending Turkish fighter jets over Greek territory

In remarks after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s demand for the demilitarisation of Greece’s Eastern Aegean islands, where arms are purely defensive and pose no threat whatsoever to the security of Turkey, which maintains a 130,000-strong Aegean army on its western coast – a stone’s throw away from the Greek islands, to which it poses a perpetual threat.

Despite his frequent threats of war against Greece, Erdogan depicted Turkey as the great peacemaker, which is working to end wars and tensions globally, but is also monitoring Greece’s actions, which he said “have the scent of provocations”.

‘Greece is not our equal’

Erdogan declared that Greece cannot be Ankara’s interlocutor on military and political issues because it is not Turkey’s equal [i.e. it is inferior].

In an apparent reference to Ankara’s expansionist “Blue Motherland” doctrine, which claims dozens of Greece’s islands and large segments of its maritime jurisdiction for Turkey, Erdogan, as quoted by the state-run Turkish Anadolu Agency, proclaimed that, “We will defend our country’s rights and interests against Greece with all the means at our disposal.”

Erdogan depicts Greece as ‘provocative’ pawn of foreign powers

“We know the true intentions of those who provoke and instigate Greek politicians is to impede our programme for a strong Turkey,” Erdogan said, in an apparent reference to American and EU criticism of Ankara’s expansionist declarations and to the expanded US military presence in Greece.

In that context, he accused Greece of “provocativeness” in the framework of “a dangerous game for Greek politicians, the Greek state, the Greek people, and for those who use them as marionettes”.

Reiterating his groundless claims that the Hellenic Coast Guard sinks the boats of migrants, killing children and innocents, Erdogan said that these actions are part and parcel of the aforementioned [foreign-instigated] mentality, “for which one day they will be brought to account”.

‘Nothing can raise Greece to Turkey’s level’

Erdogan – in yet another apparent reference to Greece’s strong strategic alliances with the US, France, and Israel – complained that there is a concentration of foreign powers in Greece, which should disturb the Greek people and not Turkey.

He claimed that the Greek government has undertaken political commitments [a possible reference to major military procurement deals or deals-in-the-making with France and the US] that have mortgaged Greece’s future for the next 25 years and that will have to be “paid for”, which he said should be a source of concern for the Greek people, and not for Turkey

Erdogan proclaimed that neither these military forces, nor political and economic support, are enough to raise Greece to the level of Turkey, but that they suffice to drag Greece into a swamp.