Greece will pay a “severe price,” the Turkish president said on Saturday, if it keeps “harassing” Turkish planes over the Aegean.
Hey Greece, look at the past. Erdogan told a crowd during a rally in the Black Sea region, “If you go any further, you will pay a severe price.
Recent months have seen Turkey voice complaints about what it sees as provocative acts by Athens, claiming that such activities hinder peace efforts.
Long-standing sea and air boundary disputes between the two uneasy NATO neighbors result in almost daily air force patrols and interceptions, primarily in the area of Greek islands close to Turkey’s coast.
Turkey says Greece is stationing troops on islands in the Aegean Sea in violation of peace treaties signed after World Wars I and II.
An infuriated Erdogan on Saturday accused Greece of “occupying” the islands.
“We have only one word to tell Greece: Do not forget Izmir (Smyrna in Greek),” Erdogan said, referring to the end of the Greek occupation after Turkish forces entered the city in the Aegean coast in 1922.
“Your occupation of the islands does not bind us,” Erdogan said.
“When the time comes, we will do what’s necessary. As we say, we may come suddenly one night,” he added, using his often-repeated words when he talked about launching an operation into neigbouring Syria.
In June, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara would challenge Greece’s sovereignty over the islands if it continued to send troops there.