Turkey vows to defend interests against Greece amid tensions

Sep 26, 2022, 9:35 AM | Updated: 9:37 am
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General A...

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey on Monday summoned the Greek ambassador to protest the alleged deployment of dozens of U.S.-made armored vehicles to Greek islands which Ankara says should remain demilitarized in line with international treaties.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned, meanwhile, that Turkey wouldn’t hold back on defending its rights and interests against Greece.

Turkish media on Sunday published aerial images that they said showed the deployment of armored vehicles by Greece to the Aegean islands of Samos and Lesbos, heightening tensions between the two NATO countries that have a history of rivalry. Turkish officials say the deployment is in violation of the islands’ nonmilitary status according to international law.

Turkish officials summoned Greek Ambassador Christodoulos Lazaris to the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Monday, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. It said Turkey also filed a protest with Washington, but didn’t provide details.

Erdogan accused Greece of engaging in acts of provocation against Turkey.

“We will not fail to defend our country’s rights and interests against Greece by using all the means at our disposal, when necessary,” Erdogan said following a Cabinet meeting.

Turkey and Greece have decades-old disputes over an array of issues, including territorial claims in the Aegean Sea and disputes over the airspace there. The disputes have brought them to the brink of war three times in the last half-century.

Tensions flared in 2020 over exploratory drilling rights in areas of the Mediterranean Sea — where Greece and Cyprus claim exclusive economic zones — leading to a naval standoff.

More recently, Turkey has accused Greece of violating international agreements by militarizing islands in the Aegean Sea. It has also accused Greek surface-to-air missiles of locking on to Turkish F-16 fighter jets carrying out a reconnaissance mission in international airspace — an accusation Greece has rejected.

Athens says it needs to defend the islands — many of which lie close to Turkey’s coast — against a potential attack from Turkey.

A Greek government official told The Associated Press that Greece “fully respects” its international obligations, adding that the Greek ambassador told his interlocuters that “Greece is not the country that is threatening its neighbor with war or assembling a large landing force on its coastline as Turkey has done.”

The official added that Turkey “continues to violate Greece’s sovereignty with its continuous violations of its airspace and overflights of Greek territory.” The official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly to the news media, made the remarks on condition of anonymity.

Turkish media reports quoted security officials as saying 23 of the armored vehicles were sent to Lesbos and 18 others were sent to Samos.

Meanwhile, Greek authorities said a six-year-old migration agreement between Turkey and the European Union remains in effect despite an escalating dispute between the two neighbors over the treatment of refugees.

Notis Mitarachi, the migration affairs minister, said Greece will continue to observe the 2016 deal that allows it to send back most migrants travelling illegally from nearby Turkey.

“It is clear that for those coming from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, that Turkey is a safe country,” Mitarachi said. “Unfortunately, smugglers are still ‘selling tickets’ to people from those countries.”

Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Erdogan last week accused Greece of committing “crimes against humanity” by carrying out potentially deadly expulsions of migrants travelling from the Turkish mainland to nearby Greek islands.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described the claims as “absurd,” charging Turkey with “weaponizing” migration to apply political pressure on Greece and other European countries.

___

Derek Gatopoulos reported from Athens, Greece.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

French parliament to debate Macron’s pension reform bill

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular planned pension changes have prompted strikes and street demonstrations in recent weeks. Now, his government is facing a harsh political battle at parliament. The National Assembly on Monday starts debating the contested bill, which would notably raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. The parliamentary […]
3 hours ago
Nurses of the nearby St. Thomas' Hospital stand on the picket line, in London, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023...
Associated Press

UK nurses, ambulance crews strike, straining health system

LONDON (AP) — Tens of thousands of nurses and ambulance staff walked off the job in the U.K. on Monday in what unions called the biggest strike in the history of the country’s public health system. The walkout is the latest in a wave of strikes that has disrupted Britons’ lives for months, as workers […]
3 hours ago
Nissan Chief Executive Makoto Uchida speaks during a Renault Nissan Mitsubishi press conference in ...
Associated Press

Renault, Nissan boards agree to equalize mutual stakes

LONDON (AP) — The boards of Renault and Nissan gave their approval Monday to equalize the stake each automaker holds in the other, bringing a better balance in the French-Japanese alliance. Under the decision, both companies will own 15% in the other. Up to now, Renault Group of France owned 43.4% of Nissan Motor Co., […]
3 hours ago
A member of opposition Congress party who was protesting demanding an investigation into allegation...
Associated Press

Adani woes spur protests as stock turmoil turns political

NEW DELHI (AP) — Hundreds of demonstrators from India’s main opposition party turned out Monday in India’s capital New Delhi and other cities demanding an investigation into allegations of fraud and stock price manipulation by India’s second-biggest business group, headed by coal mining tycoon Gautam Adani. In New Delhi, Congress Party workers threw fake currency […]
3 hours ago
FILE - Residents wait in line to receive the Ebola vaccine in Beni, Congo DRC on July 13, 2019. A c...
Associated Press

‘Loophole’ excuses WHO officials accused of misconduct

LONDON (AP) — A confidential U.N. report into the alleged missteps by senior World Health Organization staffers in the way they handled a sexual misconduct case during an Ebola outbreak in Congo found their response didn’t violate the agency’s policies because of what some officials described as a “loophole” in how WHO defines victims of […]
3 hours ago
Snow covers a tree in central Athens with the ancient Parthenon temple on the Acropolis hill seen i...
Associated Press

Greece: Snow reaches Acropolis, halts services

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — High winds and a cold snap in Greece halted ferry services and highway traffic and dusted the Acropolis and other ancient monuments in Athens with snow on Monday. The inclement weather prompted authorities in greater Athens in close schools and courthouses and suspend debates in parliament. Cellphone alerts sent by authorities […]
3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Turkey vows to defend interests against Greece amid tensions