Feb 10 2018

Athens must be vigilant over Ankara's moves - Kathimerini

Ankara’s aggressive rhetoric over the Aegean dispute constitutes a direct threat and Athens needs to be cautious as to how it chooses to respond, the Greek newspaper Kathimerini said in an editorial on Saturday.

The commander of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Hulusi Akar, said on Friday that Turkey has the capability “to conduct military operations in Afrin and the Aegean at the same time,” during an inspection of the Turkish troops in northwestern Syria.

Akar’s remarks overstepped the mark, and “ultimately constituted a direct threat to Greece,” Kathimerini said.

These comments also serve as a firm confirmation of suspicions that Ankara has made a choice not only to openly challenge the status quo in the Aegean, but also to intentionally and methodically increase the aggressive tone of its rhetoric.

The territorial dispute between the two NATO allies has also intensified since January, when the Turkish navy blocked a Greek boat carrying Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos from approaching a pair of uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea.

The sovereignty over the Imia/Kardak islets brought the two countries on the edge of war in 1996.

Athens needs to be vigilant of every move that Ankara makes, but also of reactions inside Greece, Kathimarini said.