Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that his country is ready to issue a warning “at the highest level” if Greece does not act to demilitarize the Aegean islands.
“We will not be quiet about the military activities taking place in violation of [international] treaties on islands with a demilitarized status,” Erdogan told journalists on his way back from a trip to the United Arab Emirates. “It is an issue we have already brought up with the United Nations and we will keep bringing it up.”
According to a report by eKatherimini, the Turkish president said his government was willing to do “whatever it takes” to prompt Greece to change its stance.
“The issue of the islands is always controversial. They may force us to bring it to the fore, to address these controversial issue,” Erdogan said. “This is why our [foreign minister] warned them at a lower level, so as not to force us to open a discussion on these issues.”
Erdogan’s statement comes four months after the United States and Greece renewed their longstanding Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement in October. The deal aims to mutually safeguard and protect the sovereignty of each country while allowing the U.S. to indefinitely maintain its several military bases in Greece.
Greece has sought to maintain close military cooperation with the U.S. and other NATO allies as longtime disputes with Turkey over sea and airspace boundaries continue.
Featured image courtesy of the Brookings Institution via Flickr
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