Turkey ‘won’t let any intervention go unreciprocated’, Defence Minister warns Greece, France

Turkey is not “coveting anybody’s land,” and respects the territorial and political unity of all its neighbours, but will also not tolerate any interventions, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters following a visit to the Navy Command Headquarters on Friday.

The minister’s comments come as a response to France increasing its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, having dispatched a helicopter carrier and carried out joint drills with Greece on Thursday.

“One of our allies that has no relation to the region announcing an increase in military presence in Eastern Mediterranean is not compatible with the spirit of allyship,” Akar said. “We have not let any intervention against our vessels go unreciprocated, and we will not. We want all to know that we are determined.”

Akar said Greece has disregarded international law in the Aegean and Mediterranean, and has acted “selfishly and unilaterally.”

“We are striving to explain that activities within such a framework do not comply with the mind, logic, or law, and that carrying them out in this manner will not do anybody any good,” the minister said.

Akar said Greece laid claim to more airspace and territorial waters than it is entitled to according to international law. “Such a practice or demand cannot be accepted,” he said.

Akar also urged Greece to demilitarise the Aegean islands, as stipulated by the Treaty of Lausanne.

“The treaty demands that 23 islands are non-militarised,” Akar said. “But we all know that 16 of them have weapons stationed on them.”

Militarisation of the islands is “inexplicable,” and “completely unlawful,” the minister said, as is the maritime deal between Greece and Egypt.

“They will soon see that the deal’s implementation will result in serious losses by both the Egyptian and Greek peoples,” Akar said.

The minister called for dialogue and invited Greek authorities to Turkish capital Ankara for a fourth summit on the matter.

Greece should look at Turkey’s efforts with Libya regarding the maritime agreement signed last year, “instead of constantly questioning and criticizing them with no basis in logic or law,” he said, will make important contributions to resolve issues.

A French intervention would not, according to the minister.