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Greece has to know its place, remember history: President Erdoğan

ürkiye tells Greece to mind its place and remember its history, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday about the increasing tension in the Eastern Mediterranean between Greece and Türkiye and Greece’s armament of demilitarized islands in the East Aegean, at the press conference after the G-20 summit in Indonesia.

“Again, I say it against Greece’s behavior that causes such tension. We can arrive suddenly one night. There are officials in Greece who do not know their limits. We tell them to know the diplomacy of the neighboring country. Don’t mess with Türkiye. They can fill the islands with as many guns as they want. None of these will do you any good. Here is Türkiye. Greece has to know its place. They need to remember history,” Erdoğan said.

Türkiye and Greece are at odds over a number of issues, including competing claims over jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, overlapping claims over their continental shelves, maritime boundaries, airspace, energy, the ethnically split island of Cyprus, the status of the islands in the Aegean Sea and migrants.

Türkiye, a powerful NATO member for over 70 years, has complained of repeated provocative actions and rhetoric by Greece in the region in recent months, including arming islands near Turkish shores that are demilitarized under treaties, saying that such moves frustrate its good faith efforts for peace. Ankara accuses Athens of illegally militarizing Greek islands in the East Aegean and questions Greece’s sovereignty over them. There is also a dispute over the exploitation of mineral resources in the Aegean.

Turkish military drones recently recorded the deployment of Greek armored vehicles on the islands of Lesbos and Samos, which Ankara maintains is in violation of international law. Following the incident, Ankara lodged a protest with the United States and Greece over the unlawful deployment of armored vehicles on Aegean islands with nonmilitary status.

The president also talked about the reaction of Greece to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) becoming an observer member of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS).

“The decision we made in the Organization of Turkish States regarding Northern Cyprus is valid. We do not need to get permission from any place or country. We will give the necessary response to the countries that approach it negatively,” Erdoğan emphasized.

When asked about Türkiye’s policy in Syria and Iraq, Erdoğan said, “We do not have a problem with the Kurds in northern Iraq or with the Kurds in the south of Syria, just as we do not have a problem with our Kurdish citizens in Türkiye.”

Fight against terrorism

In addition, Erdoğan thanked the condolence messages from world leaders for the terrorist attack that killed six people on Istiklal Street in Istanbul on Nov. 13 and drew attention to the fight against terrorism and said: “This vile attack has once again shown the bloody face of terrorism. Those who support the terrorist organization are partners in every blood spilled. No matter who the terrorists hide behind, they will not be able to escape the fate that awaits them. We expect the sincere support of all our friends and allies in Türkiye’s just struggle against terrorism.”

Missile strike in Poland

Erdoğan also made statements about the missile that fell on the Polish border on Tuesday and voiced the need to respect Russia’s statement on reports of a suspected missile attack on Poland and said pointing fingers at Russia would further escalate tensions.

“I need to respect Russia’s statement. In this regard, it is important for us that Russia says, ‘This has nothing to do with us.'”

He added that pointing fingers at Russia after finding out that the missile is not Russian-made will further escalate tensions.

Erdoğan’s remarks came after reports of a suspected missile attack on Poland that killed two people.

Underlining that Türkiye is trying to gather Russia and Ukraine around the same table as soon as possible, Erdoğan also said: “While we are in this effort, it should not be right to use methods of provocation here. For this, the way to peace passes through dialogue. We want to establish peace in the world, and with the effort of this, we will continue to develop our telephone diplomacy with my Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin as soon as we return.”

Pointing out that Türkiye and Russia are two neighboring countries, Erdoğan said: “The way to peace is through dialogue. There is no need to find a third partner in the Russia-Ukraine war. Nothing is gained from the war, the important thing is peace.”

Türkiye is one of the most active countries working to ensure a permanent cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia. Its delicately balanced act of assuming a role as a mediator by keeping communication channels with both warring sides open provides a glimmer of hope in diplomatic efforts to find a solution and achieve peace in the Ukraine crisis. With its unique position of having friendly relations with both Russia and Ukraine, Türkiye has won widespread praise for its push to end the war.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Ankara has offered to mediate between the two sides and host peace talks, underlining its support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. While Ankara has opposed international sanctions designed to isolate Moscow, it also closed its straits to prevent some Russian vessels from crossing through them.

Source: Daily Sabah